I opened the message by talking about the word "ginormous" that Buddy the Elf uses to describe the toilets that he sees when he arrives in New York City. Like Buddy, we all have seen or experienced something that at the time seemed really large to us. Maybe it was a large building. However, over time it tends to not seems to large and just becomes plain or regular to us. This also happens to us when we think about Christmas. If you have been exposed to church then you know that at Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Even though we know that, it loses its meaning over time. We do not see it as the ginormous deal that it really is. Matthew 1:21 tells us that the birth of Jesus is a huge deal as Jesus came to "save His people from their sins." This is a huge deal. I challenged the students that though they know this, to let this sink in their hearts this year in a fresh way.
Each week we will look at what a ginormous deal this is as we look at each of the 3 parts of the "Code of Elves" that they study in the movie "Elf". This first week we looked at the first part "Treat Everyday Like Christmas." For Buddy the Elf this might mean that everyday you can sing Christmas songs, pick snowberries, make toys, and even eat a roll of cookie dough as fast as possible. The world views this thought of treating everyday like Christmas as the opportunity to spend more money on unnecessary gifts. But looking at this thought as a Christian brings different ideas. We first might think that this would mean setting out everyday to accomplish more for God. While that is admirable, I don't believe this is what God is calling us to do. I believe He is calling us to a deeper relationship with Him. We can see this by looking at the life of Mary and Joseph.
While we do not know much about their lives before this, I believe we are safe in making the assumption that this couple never set down trying to figure out what great thing they could do for God. I doubt they ever set down and said "let's birth and raise the Messiah." I believe instead they were wholeheartedly pursuing God and then He used them in this miraculous birth. When we look at Joseph in Matthew 1:18-19 we see that it says he was a righteous man. This means he had a right relationship with God. He could have had Mary stoned by Jewish law, or divorced her publicly which would have been humiliating. Instead, even though he was going to divorce her, he set out to do it with Mary's best interest because not only did he love her, but he was a righteous man seeking to do the right thing. We also see that Mary lived a godly life in Luke 1:28-30 as the angel said she was "highly favored". This does not mean she was superhuman or on another level above humans, but that she was righteous just like Joseph. This is also obvious in her reaction in Luke 1:38 as she tells the angel she is a "bondslave of the Lord". She was willing to do whatever God called her to do, even if it was scary and did not make sense at the time.
Our response should not to be wowed by the fact that they had the awesome opportunity of being the parents of Jesus. Instead we should follow their example of character. Too often we want to do great and marvelous things for God, but we want to do them at our own discretion and our own details. We decide we want this great platform in order to make a difference for God. But God is not calling us to do more for Him. Instead, He is calling us to seek more of Him. He is calling us to do deeper in our relationship with Him. We are to treat everyday like Christmas, a celebration of the miraculous birth of the Christ who came to save us from our sins. We are to seek more of Him daily. Then when that happens, He will use us in a great way. However, it will not look like anything we planned it out to. This is not the life that Mary and Joseph would have ever planned out for themselves. Then we realize that great platform we were seeking to make a huge difference for God is actually the platform we are standing on.
I closed by challenging the students to search their hearts and see if this is how they are treating Christmas. Are they treating Christmas as this huge opportunity to worship the Savior and go deeper in their relationship with Him. We began this year by looking at Jeremiah 29:13. I challenged the students to really see if they are seeking Him with their whole heart. After a few minutes of prayer time we closed by singing "Oceans" by Hillsong United.