Riverside Community Church

Embrace Christmas

Two young boys were spending the night at their grandparents just before Christmas.  At bedtime, the two boys while doing their nightly prayers, the youngest one began praying at the top of his lungs.

I PRAY FOR AN I Phone..."

His older brother leaned over and nudged the younger brother and said, "Why are you shouting your prayers? God isn't deaf."  To which the little brother replied, "No, but Grampa is!"


This morning I want to talk to you about “Embracing Christmas” We will all embrace Christmas in some fashion but the question is “What Christmas are we embracing?” There are two Christmases; the one with Christ and the one with Santa.

The Santa Christmas embraces all that our culture has in it; presents, tinsel, decorations, Christmas trees and Christmas goodies, Santa Claus, Rudolf and Christmas food (lots of food), family and gifts.



There are currently 78 people named S. Claus living in the North America -- and one Kriss Kringle.
(You gotta wonder about that child's parents)

The weight of Santa's sleigh loaded with one Beanie Baby for every kid on earth would be 333,333 tons. The number of reindeer required to pull a 333,333-ton sleigh:  214,206, plus Rudolph. To deliver his gifts in one night, Santa would have to make 822.6 visits per second, and he would be sleighing at 3,000 times the speed of sound. At that speed, Santa and his reindeer would spontaneously burst into flame.

I can’t tell how disappointed I was 2 years ago when I realized Santa didn’t make it past the first trip.

Imagine putting the shepherds and the wise men into a time capsule and transporting them in time to today. Transporting them right into the mall or onto the middle of Lansdowne Street on Christmas eve. (just like when the angels showed up to the shepherds, 2000 years ago). What would they see, sense and understand?


See        red, green, some fat guy in a red suit and a white beard, they’d see hustle and bustle, a lot of buying, families gathering, some happy about it, some not, some tolerant.

Sense      Excitement and stress, anticipation and anxiety


Understand     I think they would be confused somewhat and ask, what are they celebrating?


There is the Santa Christmas and many embrace that only to find that on Dec 26th and 27th that they’re exhausted and glad Christmas is over.


Here’s the Christ Christmas: from Luke 2:

It’s a true story of God invading earth and giving us a full and infinite embrace, it’s the true story for every one of the real Christmas with the sounds of heaven heard on earth and we can either embrace it personally or resist it &/or ignore it and choose a lesser earthly Christ-less Christmas

Here’s part of this story of a tiny heavenly gift, strangely wrapped and quietly given:


Luke 2: 8-12 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Some points to ponder about this first Christmas:

Shepherds, sheep

         -dirty, low end job doing the night shift, the lowliest of people

         -the shepherds had the fear of death because a holy God showed up

An angel, angels watching

         -angels at the crest of heaven and earth over-looking the scene

         -they burst into a spontaneous unison of Glory, glory, glory to God

No fear     -the God of love has come, I have no need to fear. He’s come for you, to give you PEACE.

Good news & Great joy       

-the angels couldn’t contain their thrill, their excitement, seeing how much God loved mankind (you). They said Glory.

A baby

         -the one carries the world in His hand, now He has to be carried

         -Jesus came in the weakest form, a baby

         -Jesus came to the lowliest location –a stable –dark, dirty, damp

Tradition over the stable birth has been blunted and dulled into a cute story but the reality is of a stinky and grubby birth place


The sign    a sign is given, this is how you will know it is the Saviour, the Messiah

 He’s in a manger and wrapped in strips of cloth, (really they were rags) What, the Saviour in rags?

Jesus came in the lowest form –a baby, into the lowest of locations for you

         “…for unto YOU is born..”


Jesus came for you and me and wraps Himself in our rags, our sin, our weakness, our failures. If you are a believer, a Christian, God lives in you now and wraps Himself in your strips of cloth, your rags. There is nowhere you can go that God won’t come and get you, He did that already. Where ever you are, whatever mess you’re in, God comes for you. You can’t go lower that what God went through to find you.

That was the sign, God came for you.



No more religious or secular Christmas fakery, we want the real Christmas

With Jesus in strips of cloth and in the manager; coming for YOU.


Which Christmas will you embrace? Embrace this Christmas, embrace Jesus.

Picture yourself there, like the lowly shepherds or like Mary in the actual scene and event.

Read this song

Mary, Did You Know?

Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God

Mary did you know? Mary did you know? Mary did you know?


Dec 8, 2019