Every year at Christmastime, news stations run video segments of crazy shoppers pushing and shoving each other to get their hands on the best gifts for the best prices. Some people have even been killed when trampled beneath the greedy masses. The season has grown so ugly, that more and more churches are choosing to contend with the rampant consumerism via sermon series that elevate the story of Christ's birth with an eye toward selfless, sacrificial living. John Ortberg put together such a series for his church in California, and just below is a message that reminds us in this Christmas season that it is more blessed to give than to receive. To listen to Ortberg's sermon as you follow along, click here.
When I was growing up, my family always seemed to have a goal of being able to say at the end of Christmas, "This was the best Christmas we've ever had." Did any of you grow up in a family where you felt pressured to say something like that?
We didn't have clear criteria for what would make a Christmas the best Christmas ever. I suppose when I was young, it was mostly about presents: did I get what I wanted to get. Then, when I was a little older, it was about certain traditions or rituals, things that would happen every year that would make it feel like Christmas.
Every year, the weekend after Thanksgiving, my mom would make Santa Claus cookies, these wonderful cookies with red and white frosting. She would hide them, and my father would find them and eat all of them. That felt like Christmas to all of us. It was more about moments, about nostalgia or what sometimes gets called the Christmas spirit.
When we had grown up, one year my brother found a house in the mountains of Southern California in ...
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