The ABCs of Christmas

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A talk given at a Christmas Eve Candlelit service at the Brecon Presbyterian Church
 on December 24th. 2017
Let’s think about the Christmas story using the letters of the Alphabet.each one will stand for something different relating to Christmas.
A is for an angel, Gabriel, who began the story with a greetingto Mary. This is how it comes out in the Message version of the Bible:
“Greetings! You’re beautiful with God’s beauty, Beautiful inside and out! God be with you!” Luke 1.28,  the Message.
B is for  Bethlehem, where Jesus was born. People travelled from far and wide to arrive in the city; it was a very busy place. B is also for Brecon. Our town is very busy at Christmas time. People are rushing around everywhere.  Bis for Busy too. Sometimes we need to stop and listen to God.
C is for a census (that’s a counting of all the people) the reason, so many people filled the city of Bethlehem. They were there so that the Romans could know how many people there were for tax purposes.
D is for the donkey that carried a family on their long journey to Bethlehem to be counted. There is no mention of the donkey in the BIble story, but Mary must have ridden one. She was nine months pregnant. It was 90 miles fror Nazareth to Bethlehem over rough roads. it must have been an ordeal.
E is for exhausted, that’s how everyone felt when they arrived – tired from all the travelling.
F is for family: Mary and Joseph and their new baby Jesus, who was born that night in Bethlehem.
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G is for the Good News about to be shared with all the earth. The news that a baby had been born who was ngoing to be the saviour of the world; who would save his people from ther sins. Whose name was Jesus = the Lord saves.:
H is for herds, all the animals that were present in the stable, and the flocks of sheep in the field with the shepherds when they heard the good news. The good news of the baby came to humble shepherds – people who were at the bottom rung of society.
I is for our imaginations, stirred by this story!
Try and put yourself in the scene: the draughty stable, the manger with the hay , and the Baby lying there. The Son of God, lying in a manger.
J is for joy – the excitement and happiness that a new baby was born. And what a special baby!
K is for kindness, shown by the innkeeper that night, allowing a tired family to stay in the stable when there was no room in the inn. He was a hard pressed man  but he gave a little hospitality to a needy family.
L is for the love we share with one another all through the year and especially at Christmas. This love is amplified when we allow the love of God into our hearts – when we open them to Jesus. His love was in time to send him to the cross at Calvary . There he died so that we could know the forgiveness and love of God.
M is for the manger, it was usually used to hold food for animals, but this time it held the baby because there was nowhere else to lay him.
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N is for Noel or Nativity, another word for Christmas. It means new birth, that’s what happened in our story, and it happens every year.
O is for offering, there were many gifts for the baby. At Christmas time we keep this idea of sharing gifts. And we remember to help those who are needy.
P is for prayer and praise and pondering, all different ways people reacted the amazing thing that happened. We pray and praise and ponder together:
Q is for quiet, the deep peace that Christmas brings – knowing that God is with us, and not just at this time of year, but always.
R is for revelation, God showing us just who this baby in the manger is. He is king of Kings ans Lord of Lords.
S is for that one special star that shone bright in the night showing wise ones the way to Jesus. If we are wise we too will allow God to guide us to Jesus.
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T is for trust, the confidence we have in God.
U is for unity, all different people brought together tonight to celebrate God’s love!
V is for vulnerable, a little child needs to be cared for, protected.  We also have all sorts of vulnerable individuals in our society today and Christmas can be a good time to remember such individuals and bring their need closer to Our Father
W is for wonder – our amazement at the extent of how much God loves us. And this wonder will never fade, just as God’s love for us will never fade and is steadfast and strong.
X is for Xmas, the x is actually the Greek letter Chi which is the symbol for Christ. The first letter of his title Christos = the Annointed One.
Y is for You. You and I here to celebrate and worship. To make our r4sponse to Christ.
Z is for zeal, the passion with which we share the Good News and God’s love, tonight.
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Thanks to Nikki Wheeler for the basic ideas and outline of this talk. The words were accompanied by appropriate pictures on Powerpoint.

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