I began the message giving a brief review of the series and talking about how Jesus tends to become the background music of Christmas. Often we discover a new song and love it so much that we listen to it until it become mundane to us. Over time loses its popularity and ends up being a song that is played as background music in a store. The same is true with Jesus for must of us. We know that Jesus is the reason we celebrate Christmas, but over time He takes a backseat in our lives to all the other Christmas traditions.
So wrapping up this series we looked at the third and final part of the "Code of Elves" from the movie "Elf" that says "The Best Way To Spread Christmas Cheer is Singing Loud For All to Hear." For Buddy the elf this means singing Christmas songs all the time as loudly as possible with the expectations that it will bring a smile to their face. We know the truth that it will eventually become annoying and will make you want to punch them in the face. Ok not really, but you may consider it. We cannot ignore the fact that people are in need of being ministered to at all times, but especially this time of year and we need to be available to make a difference in their lives.
We read Luke 2:8-20 about the shepherds. We read verses 8-12 the previous week. We began focusing this week on verse 14 at what is probably one of the greatest worship concerts ever witnessed. The angels were singing praises to God and making much of Him as He is of the greatest worth. There are definitely some things we can learn from how the shepherds react to this huge thing they have just witnessed.
First of all, we see that the shepherds were not so in awe of the angels that their focused remained on them. They didn't stand there staring at the sky waiting for an encore. They were excited about the news that had been shared with them. The question we have to ask ourselves is "are we more infatuated with the presentation than the present itself?" We have all witnessed a young child who opens a gift but is more interested in the torn wrapping paper than the gift itself. As we get older we get distracted by popping the bubble wrap that was used inside the package we open. We have to be careful to not be infatuated with Jesus only when He is wrapped attractively to us. We look to worship Jesus + something else, whether it be great worship, great teaching, etc. when Jesus alone is all we should desire and want.
Secondly, we see in verse 20 that the shepherds left "praising God." They praised God just as the angels did in verse 14. The shepherds heard the message of Jesus' birth, they went and experienced Him, and then they left praising and glorifying God. In other words they left spreading Christmas cheer. We have to realize though, that we cannot spread something that is not real in us. If we are looking to minister to others and evangelize the lost, we cannot do so unless it is real within us. We cannot share the love of Jesus if we are not already experiencing Him daily.
I shared a quote that I read recently regarding this thought of Jesus being the background music of Christmas: "My experience of constant exposure to all things Jesus isn't increasing my admiration or devotion for Him, it's diminishing it." I understand the point that is being made here. Just as I have said throughout this series, we become numb to the truth that Jesus is the real reason for this Christmas season. However, can we be exposed to too much Jesus? I do not believe so. I do believe however, that we can, and often are exposed to too much Jesus that has an added presentation along with it. I think, like I said earlier, we become more infatuated with the presentation than Jesus Himself, and then become numb to Him. That is why the truth is still the same: Jesus alone fulfills and satisfies. We cannot add to Him or try to present Him in a more attractive way and expect to be fulfilled as He intends for us to be.
We closed the night with the similar challenge from previous messages in this series. I challenged them to do a heart evaluation to see if they are attempting to spread something that is not real in them. A great song will not do it for you. A great sermon or increase in Bible knowledge will not do it for you either. It is Jesus alone that must fulfill us so that we can then go out praising and glorifying God to spread true joy and cheer to others.