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Waiting for Christmas Part 1: A Deep Yearning

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
December 24, 2020 3:00 am

Waiting for Christmas Part 1: A Deep Yearning

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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December 24, 2020 3:00 am

“''Twas the night before Christmas.” The poem says not a creature was stirring. That may have been the case in 1823 . . . but in 2020, Christmas Eve is probably a cauldron of last-minute projects, family tensions and frayed nerves. Not exactly the way it’s described on Christmas cards.

Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how to pause for a moment and refresh ourselves with another perspective. It’s a message from last year’s Christmas Eve service at his home church.

View and subscribe to Pastor Greg’s weekly notes.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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The following message from Pastor Greg Laurie is made possible by harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God, to find out how to know God personally go to know God.org KNOW know God.org it would you do me a favor sure this message was someone who needs to hear it when you talk about shoes you want really want Pastor Greg Laurie pointed out a deep yearning.

We all were waiting for Chris was right. Well, sorry. What we really want what we are waiting for Christmas and longing for Christmas this very Messiah residence under a tree's residence in our lives is not a creature was stirring in the case of 1823, 2020, Christmas Eve is probably a cauldron, last-minute projects, family tensions and frayed nerves. Not exactly the way you describe my Christmas cards. Pastor Greg Laurie pointed out, pause for a moment and refresh yourself with another perspective message from last year's. Let's pray together the Lord in this I celebrate the greatest of all my night with Christ was born.

We pray as we look at this beautiful story, the greatest of all stories again that we would see it with fresh eyes that we would share it with fresh ears and that it would resonate with us and we would see the meaning of it so we ask your blessing as we open your word and we ask it in Jesus name and met all right. Well if you brought a Bible with you, I'd like you to Robert and turn to Luke chapter 2 the title of my messages waiting for Christmas waiting I don't know about you but that's not something I like to do.

How many of you by nature our patient people razor had a very patient person I admire you. I don't understand you. I bet you the people to drive to slow in the fast lane on my right about that. Anyway, how many of you by nature are inpatient razor Hannibal get a lot more of you or should I say a lot more of us by nature am an impatient person. My wife can attest to this.

She's very patient. I very impatient when you're driving on the freeway to see the one person in the one line pops over the next lane over to the other lane and the other lane, always trying to get ahead, that's me okay in the market.

I literally upon looking at the lines now at the registers of the what is the shortest line and there have been times I've gone in the 12 items or less line when I needed to buy more stuff just to get through it all leaves stuck behind just so I can get out of there more quickly and by the way I'm counting the number of items of the person in front of me in that line as well.

Same with amusement park. That's one of the reasons I don't love to go to them that much. I mean, I like to go to Disneyland, but every time I go I picked the one day when it's the most crowded day of all time and everyone will think you should have been here yesterday. It was like a ghost, but I just have people everywhere in nothing of little signs on the line to tell you if you're standing here, you'll be on the ride in one month. I'm like you know I was happier not knowing that actually and then there is waiting like when you're waiting to use the restroom doesn't time move slowly somebody else's in it and when they finally come out to look at him like really is you have to take that long in the impatience of it all, or when you're a kid and your in class how long the class seemed to go with the gear waiting for the bell to ring for recess and it seemed like it took years, or maybe you go to the theater and you're watching the trailers and your thing. I can't wait to see that new movie that's coming out.

Then you see the movie and realized the trailer was better than the movie right and then eating you know what I order a pizza. I can't wait for it to cool off all start eating it.

It's burning the roof of my mouth.

I may need to go to the emergency room but all I can't wait doing that pizza and you know microwaves, they seem slow to me now. I remember when microwaves first came out, that's old. I am. I member what I saw the first one I was like it was like a miracle. What used to take 45 minutes to get done now in three minutes and I put some in the microwave and I'm like seriously two minutes. I have things to do right. It's just crazy. I'm an impatient person but sometimes things are work the way well Christmases here Christmas Eve porcelain tomorrow is Christmas day we had our grandkids over at our house. I mentioned that Kathy decided they should open their present. The next day and they were so filled with anticipation.

They couldn't wait it so hard for them so when you're a kid you can't wait for Christmas morning when you're an adult you can't wait for Christmas to be over with.

No more Christmas songs you got enough of all those songs like no I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus. That is an inappropriate song okay I don't know what about that song he knows he sees you when you're sleeping. What is he a stalker what's going on. He knows when you're awake that that's who is this guy in the red suit looking in my window late at night, but so I want to talk about two people that are sort of unknown folks in the Bible there were waiting for the first Christmas while waiting for Christmas right now. Some of us are waiting and hoping our family will show up.

Some of us are hoping our family actually won't show up, but Doug Christmas is such a big deal and it's so hyped up. Here's a reality. Christmas cannot deliver on its promises. It has a lot of good things about it, but I think deep down inside what we really want what we are waiting for Christmas and were longing for it is not Christmas, it's Christ. It's not merriment if the Messiah is not goodwill it's God. It's not presence under a tree. It's his presence in our lives.

I think really that the anticipation we have for Christmas is a longing for God himself and that's the message of Christmas Emmanuelle God is with us now. Let's focus on these two unknown people for the most part in the Christmas story. I'm not talking about Joseph and Mary.

We all know a lot about them. I'm actually talking about frosty and Rudolph the red nose reindeer.

No, I'm not. I'm talking about two people named Simeon and Anna never heard of them before Simeon and Anna believe it or not there actually a part of the Christmas story. Even the Nativity story and in some ways, the more a part of the Christmas story than the wisemen more because the wisemen came quite a bit later, maybe up to two years later the Bible says they came to the house where Jesus was, not the manger where he was born to let me show you where these two fit in to the Christmas story, big picture timeline member, the angel Gabriel came to Mary living in the city of Nazareth, the city renowned for its wickedness.

She was a nobody in a nowhere town in the middle of nowhere, and though it was known for immorality. Mary was a godly girl living in an ungodly place. It was revealed to her that she would become the mother of the very Messiah she was trying to wrap her mind around how this would happen. And Gabriel gave her this message. Told her the Holy Spirit will come upon you the power of the most high will overshadow you.

So the baby to be born will be holy and he will be called the son of God, so Mary agreed. She said let it be according to your servant. I'm in. I agree I'll do it to go to said no you said no thank you, could hit somebody else that she said yes. Then there's Joseph, the unsung hero of the Christmas story. He went along with the truck to understand that Joseph didn't believe Mary's story at first. When she told him. But then the Lord came to him in a dream, send an angel that don't be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for it is the son of God.

Now Caesar Augustus gives a degree that all the world should be taxed because both Mary and Joseph were descendents from the house of David. They had to return to Bethlehem. That's where David lived when he was a little boy. You remember that's another making the difficult journey back to Bethlehem because the Scripture said that is where Messiah would come from Micah 5 Duvall Bethlehem, though you be little among the thousands of Judah get out of you shall come forth. One whose origins again from everlasting or literally.

The vanishing point.

Now on the first Christmas Eve there were no brightly colored lights on anyone so there were no stockings at a been hung with care. No visions of sugar plums on anyone's mind. It was just another night in Bethlehem for world history was about to change. You know the story they arrive in town.

There's no room in the end. And so, the son of God enters our world in a stable or most likely okay now when we parents have a child, especially our first child we call our loved ones and will tell them the weight and length of the baby and the actual time for so God makes an announcement. My son is born. Who does he tell you would think he would go and tell Caesar a Caesar, the son of God is and Barbara know he directs the message stored shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night. Let me say a word about Caesar. Caesar Augustus, it means of the gods that the definition of Augustus Caesar decided. I think everyone should not worship me as a deity historian's jealousy may have been around 57.

That's funny because I was telling the Christmas story to my grandkids and I mentioned Caesar my granddaughter Lucy said little Caesar and I said pizza pizza so you know, actually it was little Caesar a little dude who thought he was a big deal, but in reality he was merely a tool in the hand of God Almighty to bring about the event, spoken of by the prophet Greg Laurie will have the second half of this message just a moment. So many listeners have commented on the help they received from these daily messages were administered often gets them through some dark hours. Start right by Greeley not angry. You love the Lord that I struggle with survivor guilt.

Mildred, there are only 11 currently appearing with our work unitedly waiting for her 21st birthday 390 pounder on anything for help emergency reminders were able to get a little nowhere to lay because my brain did you not read that the order was very clear about not wanting to live with eating anything. We had to let her go. It's been five years and I think you can hear me weeping. I like you that you never really get over it early Lord will get me to go that route. Only got to bring her home.

No more trials are just around the corner so I need to learn how to completely take myself out of the equation on me. I pray for you that you will continue to preach the importance of having to clean God when he like it or not. May God continue to bless you and your family, your great, thank you so much, probably so like this, knowing that this broadcast is helping. Would you like to share your story with pastor Craig call 1-866-871-1144. Once again, 866-871-1144 Pastor Greg is presenting a special Christmas Eve message today, cold waiting for Christmas and I think store harvest partners for their support, which help to make today study possible and so now the son of God is come into the world.

The messages given to the shepherds so let's see what they said. Luke chapter 2 verse nine.

Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared among them and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. Imagine they were terrified and the angel reassure them.

Don't be afraid. She said I bring you good news that will bring great joy to wall people. The Savior. Yes, the Messiah of the Lord has been born today about the him the city of David, and you'll recognize him by this sign you'll find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth lying in a manger. Suddenly the angel was joined by a vast host of others armies of heaven, praising God and saying, glory to God in the highest heaven and peace on earth.

Of those with whom God is pleased, the shepherds said to each other. Let's go to Bethlehem let's see this thing that has happened which the Lord has told us about. There so the shepherds come and they find Mary and Joseph and the baby in her arms. No doubt the wisemen appeared a little bit later. I already mentioned a couple of years later. Listen to this. The next event in the Nativity story is eight days later after the birth of Christ. When Joseph and Mary dig Jesus into the temple there. He was circumcised and now we come to the first of two people who are waiting for Christmas are waiting for Christ. The first was Simeon who was he was a godly man was waiting for the Messiah. He was living a godly life at a time when the people of Israel had turned from the Lord in many ways they had not heard from the Lord for hundreds of years is not a single prophet had spoken in the name of the Lord. Not one miracle of them perform. No angelic appearances until this event with the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks, but suddenly now the time is right. Everything was set in place. Rome actually helped to bring about the purposes of God. You know sometimes God can use a person that is not necessarily a godly person or a moral person to accomplish his purposes. Caesar was accomplishing the purposes of God by giving that degree.

Getting married Joseph to Bethlehem so prophecy would be will built in Rome to its military muscle had bludgeoned the world into submission and most of the planet was living under what was called Pax Romana of forced peace Rome established a common language Greek. So for the first time ever, everyone, for the most part was speaking the same language. Secondly, they had a very sophisticated postal system. And thirdly, they had the Roman road system. It was on those roads without language that the gospel was spread to the planet like wildfire. Everything was right.

Historically fulfilling Galatians 44 which says when the time was just right, God sent forth his son made a noblewoman under the law, to redeem those that are born under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons whereby we cry, Abba father. When the time was just right so years old Simeon hanging out in the temple waiting Lord revealed to him he would not die until he saw the Messiah. Sometimes you get those boxes on your ports and say don't open the Christmas gutter and effectively shown Simeon you will die until Christmas. The first Christmas you will die until you see the Messiah so Simeon held on the promises of God, the prophet Malachi was prophecy in the Old Testament says the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in his wings, and though the property was 400 years old and Simeon believe that he hung on to it. It's a good thing to hang onto the promises of God.

There's a lot of promises in the Bible. Did you know that thousands of promises that the Lord is given to you. Don't ever forget the promises of God lay hold to the promises of God.

There a little bit like those gift cards. We are given this time of year and I have to admit, I've received quite a few gift cards I've not used. I don't know about you, I have a little collection at home I read recently that there are 45 billion.

You heard me right billion dollars in unused gift cards that have been given over the years. Can you imagine such a thing that people give me a lot of gift cards to In-N-Out Burger, and Krispy Kreme donuts think it's because I mention them so often in my sermons. Maybe I should talk about fancier restaurants more. I don't know. So I've always gift card for In-N-Out Burger which I appreciate if I use all these gift cards I be literally 500 pounds right now that rule me out on a dolly ride.

I'd be a literal holy roller here I am, so I regift him.

I give them away to others and then I received gift cards or places I'll never go. Oh well, $100 gift card at liver world by the liver.

It doesn't exist on Google and I made it up maybe it does exist, but I would never want to get a place like that way make godly promises to you, like gift cards that are in use. For instance, God's promise to you that will never leave you or forsake you Jesus that I will never leave you or forsake you.

He also said low.

I am with you, even to the end of the age and the Bible also promises that God will provide all of your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. God also promises in Romans 828 that he can cause all things to work together for good to those that love God, another called according to his promises in God's promise to answer our prayers and they so often we have problems we don't pray about. We don't bring them to the Lord. And Jesus said ask and it shall be given to you seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be open giver problem tonight, Christmas Eve. Maybe it's a physical problem.

Maybe it's a family problem. Maybe some other kind of issue pray about it pray about it because God promises in Jeremiah 33 three called to me and I will answer you, so Simeon called on the Lord, Lord, you made a promise to me. Your promise I will die till I see the Messiah I'm hanging on to that promise. By the way, the name Simeon means God is heard got it here. So he waited. He waited one day who walks in Mary Joseph, Jesus, Esther, Greg Laurie.

Interesting perspective on the first Christmas and what we can learn for Christmas here in 2020. Good insight today on a new beginning and pastor Greg has more to come next time.

If you missed any part of today's presentation. Just go online for an instant replay. Look for the message called waiting for Christmas when you go to harvest.org or call us for a CD copy at 1-800-821-3300.

That's 1-800-821-3300 yesterday were excited about making the DVD of a rush of hope available to her listeners and I really think they're sort of a pent-up demand for that whole personally several friends have asked me if a DVD was available to talk to a lady that used to be our neighbors. Some 30 years ago tracked me down on Facebook just asked me that this pastor Greg have a DVD of a rush of hope. So I'm excited to say yes.

Finally, it's available in were making it available to her listeners right now. That's right Dave, it's available. Get ready for uncle Dave Arezzo Pope. His hair yes Dave, I've heard the same thing, the people would would comment on my social media. I loved that I watched at 5678 times because as you know, over a given weekend. Labor Day weekend we showed up multiple times and people just kept watching it and watching it and then wanting to share it with friends, but of course we never archived that you couldn't watch it on demand.

You can only watch it for one of the showings, but now you can watch it when ever you want wherever you want with whom ever you want to watch it with because a rush of hope is on DVD and not only that, but we vented some special resources to this offer were including a special little book called a rush of hope, a little booklet where we answer life's most difficult questions that you can give out to somebody who is not yet a Christian is also a little piece that we wrote on how to host a watch party so the ideas you invite a bunch of neighbors over and you show a rush of hope and then you can follow up on them so they can make a commitment to Jesus Christ. We saw thousands of people make a profession of faith. After we showed this on Labor Day weekend well over 17,000 people and now we believe thousands and thousands more will come to Christ as well and so working to put this research in your hands. I got to do is order. It is a war I need to do is send it to you for your gift of any size. I will take that gift that you send and will use it to continue to expand our ministry.

You know we want to be good stewards over what God has given us were strong believers in paying our bills and and doing the things that we promise that we will do financially, but we also want to expand their territory. We want to go to new areas and as you give.

We have resources to utilize to go into a market as it's called that we've never been into before. So if you think more people need to hear this radio broadcast a new beginning. If you think more people need to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ through films like a rush of hope, then I would encourage you to send a generous financial gift to harvest ministries and we will put it to work for the kingdom of God and again is my way of saying thanks will rush to your own copy of Arezzo Pope, so you can show it to the holidays of its rights or get in touch today with your investment in this DVD will be on its way to you also will send a digital download code she can watch online right from your computer or tablet or smart phone. That way you can take it with you and share it with a friend. You might say a cinematic crusade right in your pocket or purse to write today a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org everybody Greg Laurie here and finding you to join me every weekend for what we call Harvest at Home.

It's a church service.

It's a worship service.

It's a Bible study and its wherever you wanted to be in your home in your car sitting on a beach walking down the street watching it on your phone wherever you are taking with you and be minister to every weekend. Join us for Harvest at Home@harvest.org will Pastor Greg comes back to complete this message. Looking at the patient expectation. Anna and Simeon join us here on a new beginning possible by harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God sign up for pastor greats free daily email devotions@harvest.org


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