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James Merritt - Christmas Theology

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    James Merritt - Christmas Theology
TOPICS: Christmas

Some facts are just hard to believe. For example, did you know pure honey does not spoil? You can eat honey that's 10,000 years old. I'm not not making this up. It, honey does never spoil. That's why my, if it's, I mean 10,000 year old honey, you know, you'll love it. That's why my favorite term for Teresa is honey. If she were 10,000 years old, she'd still be the most beautiful woman I've ever laid my eyes on, okay. So pure honey does not spoil. Listen to this, did you know that a full head of human hair is strong enough to support 12 tons? I'm down to about a half a ton, but a full head of human hair can support 12 tons. I bet you didn't know this, true fact: dead people can get goosebumps.

Now I'm not making that up. Dead people can get goosebumps. I know that's true. I've seen it happen many times when I'm preaching. So I know that absolutely happens. If you saw the movie "First Man" just came out, I learned this. Now this blew my mind. Neil Armstrong had to go through customs in Honolulu on his way back from the moon. He couldn't even get back into the country 'til he went through customs. That's why it really shouldn't surprise us, honestly, that thoughtful people find so many things about Jesus that are just hard to believe. And I'll be honest, I wanna give you some slack. I get it, it is kinda hard to believe that one man can get nailed to a piece of wood and die for the sins of the whole world.

People say, "I just find that hard to believe". Or take the empty tomb. For a lot of people the resurrection is just a stumbling block that's just too high to get over. Because here's one thing we know: nobody comes back from the dead, never happens. Or take what we talked about last week, the virgin birth. Nobody has a problem with the fact that Jesus was born. Nobody gets bent out of shape that he lived, but they say, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, time out, wait a minute, his mom was a virgin? No IVF, no human father"? That is just an absolute bridge too far. But when you really begin to study Jesus, and the reason people have difficulty with Jesus, you find out that Christmas is really, the real explanation about the stumbling block that Jesus presents on people, because the hardest thing to believe about Jesus for most people is not how he got here.

It's not even what he did. The hardest thing people have with Jesus and the real difficulty is who he was. Because the hard message for many to swallow is not Good Friday's crucifixion, is not Easter's resurrection, it is Christmas' incarnation. If you don't know what the incarnation means, it really means in flesh, and it simply means that God became fully human. So there are a lot of people out there, very religious people. They're okay to talk about Jesus until you say one thing: "God became man". And at that moment, the Muslim says, "Check it out". The Jew says "Can't go there". The Unitarians, the Jehovah's Witnesses, they say, "That's a line I just can't cross". And we're in a series that we're calling Christmas Unwrapped because it's one thing to unwrap Christmas gifts, it's another thing to unwrap the gift of Christmas.

And that's what we're doing for the next couple of weeks. We're unwrapping the gift of Christmas because the first Christmas gift that was ever given was the greatest Christmas gift ever given. It was given by God and the reason why it was the greatest Christmas gift ever given is that God gave himself. Now think about that. You opened up that present and it was God himself. Last week we talked about Christmas biology, and we unashamedly said that before the birth of Jesus there was the conception of Jesus, he was conceived in the womb the scripture says by a virgin name Mary, and by none other than the Holy Spirit of God. And we said, "You know what? If you don't have a problem with God, you really shouldn't have a problem with a virgin birth, because with God, all things are possible".

But Christmas biology has to lead to Christmas theology, because Christmas doesn't just celebrate how he was conceived, but who he was when he was born. So that raises a question: who was this baby? Who was this little boy that was placed in that manger 2,000 years ago? And oh, by the way, why is that a big deal for me? How does that help me make it on Monday? How does that help me make it in my job? How does it help me, make it in a troubled marriage? How does it help me make it when I'm having trouble with my boss? What in the world practical difference does it really make? Well, let me show you. If you brought a copy of God's Word, we're in the fourth gospel. There's four, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, we're in the fourth gospel, John chapter one. It is the who of Christmas that makes sense of the what of Christmas and the why of Christmas.

I want you to you hear this. If Jesus was not who he said he was, we wouldn't have Christmas trees, we wouldn't have Christmas lights, we wouldn't have Christmas carols, we wouldn't have the Christmas season. We wouldn't have Christmas shopping if Jesus was not who he said he was and claimed to be. And in this passage, we're going to look, look at it in John chapter one, one of Jesus' closest friends. You know, Jesus had 12 disciples, but there were three that were kind of his inner circle: Peter, James and John. So John is writing this gospel about Jesus. John is writing this from the perspective of a man that pretty much, for three years, non-stop, 24/7, spent every waking moment with Jesus, and he gives us Christmas theology 101.

What John's going to do for us is really big. He says, "You know, if you really wanna understand why we celebrate Christmas and you really wanna understand who we celebrate at Christmas, then you need to understand what happened that Christmas, because three incredible things happened when that baby was born". Number one, Jesus entered into life with us. He entered into life with us. Now, in just 10 words, one sentence, John makes this earth shattering declaration. He says this: "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us". Now, if you don't know your Bible, and you maybe have not read this for a long time, you say, "Whoa, whoa, excuse me, what is the Word"? "The Word became flesh". He's talking about Jesus. You say, "Why would he call Jesus the Word"? Because words are used to communicate.

That's what I'm doing right now. I'm using words to communicate, and what John was saying was, Jesus is literally coming to communicate God to us. He's coming to speak God to us, and John is being physiologically precise as he can be. He said, "Look, Jesus the Word became flesh, Jesus Christ was God, who became a human being". As I told you, that's what the word incarnation means. It comes from a Latin phrase. It literally means enfleshing. So in other words what John is saying is, God became something that he was never before until that moment 2,000 years ago. He became a human being. Now here's where people kind of say, "Man, this is just hard to get my arms around this". God, without ceasing to be God, became a human being. God became a man, the God-Man.

So go back to the beginning. He was conceived just like you and I were conceived. He was a fetus for nine months, an unborn child, just like you and I for nine months. He came out of a mother's womb as a baby, just like you and me. He could not change himself, he could not feed himself, he could not care for himself, and just like any other baby, he was absolutely physically helpless. Then he became a child. Then he became an adolescent. Then he became a teenager and he had, just like you and me, skin and bones and veins and corpuscles and eyes and ears and everything you experience, he experienced. He got tired, he got sleepy, he got hungry, he got thirsty, he got frustrated, he got angry, he laughed, he wept, he bled, he died. Now he wasn't like Superman.

I remember I was telling our 9:15 service, I don't think I've ever told this before. If you said to me, "What was your favorite Christmas"? I have to tell you one of my favorite, and still to this day, probably my most favorite gift, I was in the first grade, and my mother got me a full-blown Superman outfit. I mean, I had the S, I had the pants, I had the cape, I had the S on the back. I wore myself out trying to get off the ground when I put that suit on. It was, I wanted to sleep with it. I wanted to go to school with it, I loved Superman. He's always been my hero. But Jesus was not like Superman. See, when Superman puts on the glasses and the suit and goes to work at the Daily Planet, one thing doesn't change. He's just Superman. He's not just like us, he is Superman. Jesus is not like Superman, he doesn't just put on glasses. This is not a fake, it's not a disguise. He said "Yes, I am God, but I'm also you, just like you. I feel what you feel. I hurt like you hurt. I'm just an ordinary human being".

People saw him just like they see us. They heard him like they hear us. They talked to him like they talk to us. They touched him like they touch us. He was absolutely fully human, but he was still God. Now, he took on humanity, but he did not lose his divinity. He was 100% human and he was 100% God, which by the way, that's why John added that phrase, "He made his dwelling among us". Now, the Greek word for make your dwelling means to pitch a tent, or to tabernacle. Had you been a Jew to 2,000 years ago and you read that, your jaw would have dropped, 'cause you knew exactly what John was talking about. Because back in the Old Testament, when the Jews wanted to meet with God or they wanted to get into the presence of God, they had to go to what was called the tabernacle. It was a tent. Everywhere they traveled as they were making their way to the promised land, they'd set up this tent, they set up this tabernacle, and they would go and they would meet with God.

Now the problem was they didn't meet with God face to face. It wasn't eyeball to eyeball, it wasn't flesh to flesh, but when they walked into that tabernacle, there was what was called the Shekinah Glory of God. It was like this big, great cloud, and they would go in and they would experience the presence of God. What John is saying is this: when that little baby came out of his mother's womb, God pitched his tent with us. God put his tent down right next to your tent and right next to my tent. So when you met Jesus, had you met Jesus 2,000 years ago, you would have been meeting God face to face, you would have been meeting God eyeball to eyeball, you would have been meeting God flesh to flesh. You know, one of the, I had a couple ask me just while ago after the first service, they said, "Hey, do you go to Israel every year"? And I said, "Well no, I don't. Usually I go every other year," but I said, "we're gonna go back this year, even though we went last year 'cause so many people wanna go".

So you know, we were talking about it, and he said, "How many times have you been"? I said, "I think I've been about 30". I've been to Israel more times than any other country in the world except of course for for the United States. We got to talking and I said, you know, he said, "It must be a great trip". I said, "It is, so I'll tell you why". I said, "You know, I can tell you and describe for you what, just how, what a thrill it is to get into a boat in Tiberius, and take the same boat route across the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum". I said, "It's awesome". I said, "I can describe to you how you will literally stand on the same exact street, the same exact cobblestone that Jesus walked to the cross. Unbelievable". I said, "I can take you into an empty tomb. We take the Lord's Supper there. It's unlike any other service you'll ever be in".

I said, "I can take you to Bethlehem, and I preach on Christmas every year, and right behind where I preach are the shepherds fields, the same fields where shepherds kept their flock, kept watch on their flock by night". And I said, "You know, I've got hundreds and hundreds of pictures that I've taken. They are about every conceivable place you would ever wanna see in Israel". But I said, "You know why you ought to go there"? Before I could say anything, he said, "Yes, because there's nothing like seeing it for yourself". And I said, "You're exactly right". That's exactly why God came to earth. He said, "There's nothing like seeing me for yourself," and that's why, listen, not politically correct, but that's why the only way to know God personally is through Jesus Christ. He is not the best way to God, he's not a sweet way to God, he's not a cool way to God. He is the only way to God. He's the only way you can know God.

You see, God's revealed himself in creation, God revealed his power. But in Jesus, his person. He said, "You know, what's so unique about Christmas is that Jesus, not that just Jesus was God, but in Jesus God has become a human being". Now, let me just say this, I get it, I get it, okay. It's impossible that man can become God. You're right. It's inconceivable that God would become man. I agree. It's incredible that Jesus was God, but he became a man. Now, let me tell you about it. By the way, if you ever try to compare Christianity with every other religion, I can make this real easy. There are a lot of things that make Christianity not only not a religion, it's not, but there's a lot of things that if it were, would make it totally different from every other religion in the world. Here's just one of them.

There is no other faith, there is no other religion in the world that says, if you want to know God as God is, it is essential that you believe that God became a human being. Islam does not teach that. Buddhism does not teach that. Hinduism does not teach that. Judaism does not teach that. We say, "If you wanna know God, you've got to understand and believe this God became a human being". He came, he entered into life, just like us. But there's more. Jesus existed in eternity before us. He entered into life with us, but he existed in eternity before us. Now, John interrupts his own narrative, and he quotes John the Baptist who says something later on in this chapter, but I want you to listen to what John the baptist said. "John testified concerning him," that is, Jesus. "He cried out saying, 'This is the one I spoke about when I said, "He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me".'"

Now you gotta know why that's kind of a big deal that John would say that. John was the cousin of Jesus. His mother and Mary were sisters, and so he was the cousin of Jesus. So what he's saying here is this. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but he did not have his beginning in Bethlehem. He was born in Bethlehem, he did not have his beginning in Bethlehem. John the baptist was three months older than Jesus. He started his ministry before Jesus, and yet he looks at Jesus and he says, "Now, I know I'm three months older than he is, and I know I started my ministry before he did, but you need to understand, he not only surpassed me, he came before me". By the way, John makes it very emphatic. He doesn't just say he came before me. In the Greek language, he says, "He came first before me".

That is, John's existence began, John's existence began when John was born. Jesus existed before John was was born, and therefore before he was born. I mean, it's important to see Jesus as a human, I get that. But the next thing you've gotta understand is this: Jesus is the only human being that was ever born that didn't have a beginning. I had a beginning. My birthday is coming up soon as I wish. That's when I had my beginning. Whatever birthdate you've got, that's when you had your beginning. Jesus never had a beginning. He was conceived by God, but he was not created by God. He was the creator God who has always existed.

Now, why is John making a big deal with that? Because he wants you to understand something. The only being before anything or anyone is God. Everything else has, nothing else has always existed except God. Therefore, if Jesus is God, he could not have had his beginning at Bethlehem. He had his birth, but not his beginning, because God has neither beginning nor ending. Creation did not exist before the Creator. The Creator has always existed before the creation. Our birth was our beginning. His birth was not. Just as he had no beginning, he has no ending. He's always existed, from eternity past to eternity present.

Now, let me just be honest, that's hard to understand. I got a text the other, this week. I got a text from a buddy of mine who played ball at the University of Georgia, played with the offensive line. He's got some buddies of his who've also played at the University of Georgia. One has a Super Bowl ring, one is, was a star was a star running back, and there's another guy that played. So he texted me last week and he said, "Doc, I need your help". I said, "What's going on"? So these three guys, they kind of, they're kind of, in his words, kind of walking away from Jesus, walking away from God. One of the problems they have is, they can't get their arms around the fact that God has always existed.

I said, "Well let me just tell you". I said, "They think they have a head problem, they don't. It really is a heart problem". But I said, "Since they think it's a head problem, let's deal with the head part first". I said, "The reason why it's hard to get your hands around that is because we are three-dimensional creatures. We live in a three-dimensional world. God lives in a no-dimensional world". I said, "The second problem is we're confined to two things, right? Time and space. I can be here at a certain time on this platform. I cannot be here and at Sanford Stadium at the same time. I can be here at any time, but I can't be here and there any time. I'm limited by time and I'm limited by space". "God created time and God created space. There's no such thing as time or space with God". I said, "That's why you have a problem understanding that. That's why you have to understand about Jesus. He didn't know anything about time or space 'til he came out of his mother's womb".

Jesus was the only baby in history, think about this. Jesus was the only baby in history that was ever born that the moment he was born he was older than his mother and as old as his father. Think about that. He was older than his mother, and just as old as his father. Only a baby who was God could fit that description. That's why Christmas, by the way, really is two mysteries in one. Because I'm gonna say something now that a lot of pastors are afraid to say. They're afraid that you'll, you know, you'll think less of them or they'll think, we're afraid you might start questioning things. I'm not, because I know what the scriptures teach.

You see, Christmas is a mystery. Say, "What do you mean"? Well let me just state the obvious. Jesus is fully God and Jesus is fully man. He's not half God or half man. I could get my arm around that. He's 50% God 50% man, I can get my arms around that. But he's fully God, and he's fully man in one person. Now you're saying, "I don't understand that". Well get in line, neither do I. "But you're a pastor". I am. "You have a PhD". I do. "You read the Greek New Testament every day". But I don't understand that. Oh, but it gets deeper. There's two mysteries I told you. One mystery is you're one person, but you're fully God and you're fully man. However, the story of Christmas is not just about one person. It's actually about three. God the Son was born, but who sent God the Son? God the Father. "Well, who conceived God the Son"? God the Spirit. "So there's three Gods".

Nope, just one. One God yep, three persons: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. "I don't understand that". Get in line. I don't either. I don't see how that can be. But here's what I know. With God all things are possible. So I believe in one God, amen. I believe in one God, but I believe that God came and is in three persons. Jesus entered into life with us, but he existed in eternity before us. He came to live with us as a man, life with us, but he existed in eternity before us, God. But when you add all that up, this is the best thing. Jesus expresses God to us. Now listen to what John says. John takes this theological present and he ties it up with this nice theological bow with these words. He says, "No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God," just hold on to that thought, "and is in closest relationship with the Father has made him know".

Now, John reminds his readers that no one's ever seen God. 2,000 years ago, nobody would have disagreed with that statement. Everybody understood that, everybody got that. Because if you go back and read ancient literature, here's what you'll find. All these people that believed in these mythological gods like Zeus and Hercules and all these mythical gods and all these other pagan gods that they worship, they were both fascinated and frustrated at the same time. They were fascinated because they did believe in these gods. They believed there were pagan, they believe something was up there, something greater than them. They gave them different names, they had different powers, they had different properties. But they just believed, yes, there is a great, great, great God up there.

That's what fascinated them. But what frustrated them was the knowledge that they could never know that God. They could never know, does that God know me? Does that God even care about me? Does that God love me? Does that God have a plan for my life? Can I have a relationship with that God? Can I ever personally know that God? They were so convinced they could not that the philosopher Plato said this: "Never man and God can never meet". Plato said, "You wanna worship your God, you worship your God. You wanna celebrate your God, you celebrate your God. You wanna elevate your God, you elevate your God. You wanna to get excited about your God, you get excited about your God. Just understand this: you'll never meet that God. You'll never know that God. You'll never have a personal relationship with that God". Even every Jew knew that God said to Moses thousands of years ago, "You cannot see my face and live, Moses. Nobody can see me and live".

So John says, "No one has ever seen God," but then he throws in this little three letter, Christmas word: but, but. And then he refers to Jesus as the one and only Son. And then these are the words that crack windows. These are the words that tore down walls. These are the words that destroyed buildings: "who himself is God". And Jewish jaws dropped all over Israel, "Excuse me"? He himself is God. Literally he is the one unique God. Had you, if John were standing here right now and you said to John, "Hey John, I'm kind of preaching on Christmas. Let me just ask you a question John. what is Christmas to you"? John would say, "Oh, that's easy. I can tell you what Christmas is to me in three words: Jesus is God".

That's Christmas. Jesus is God. He is God the Son, but he's always been God. There was never a time when he was not God, but there was a time when he was not human. Because it was not until that first Christmas that the God of eternity, who doesn't know either time or space, entered into both. Jesus was not a humanized God. He wasn't a deified man. He was the God-Man. So when you met Jesus here, whether you realize it or not, you were meeting someone that everything that God was, he was. Everything that God is, he is. He was all of that. You can't take God out of the man and you can't take man out of the God. He was not God with a touch of humanity. He was not man with a touch of divinity. He was fully God and fully man. And the reason John says that's so important is because of what he came to do.

Now these next four words made Jews fall out. "He has made God known". No Plato, you're wrong. God and humanity can meet. They do meet in Jesus. The word there in the Greek language, to make, make God known, that word gives us the English word, exegesis, and the word exegesis simply means to explain. What John is saying is Jesus is the explanation of God. Everything God is, Jesus is. Everything God has, Jesus has. Everything that God does, Jesus does. So for example I were to say to you, "Hey, you wanna come to God"? "Yes, I really do". "Come to Jesus. You wanna know God"? "Man, I really do". "Know Jesus. You want to love God"? "I really do". "Love Jesus". Because in Jesus, you don't just see God. In Jesus, you don't just hear God. In Jesus, you don't just feel God. In Jesus, you know God, and not just as Creator, not just as Ruler, not just as King, not just as Master, not just as Redeemer. You know how you know God and Jesus? As a human being, just like you and just like me.

I read a story the other day on, I'd, I never knew this. This is something I've never shared 'cause I didn't know it. But it's a fascinating story. When I read it I said, "That's one of the best Christmas stories I've ever read". On February the 15th, 1921 in New York City in the operating room of the Kane Summit Hospital, a doctor performed an appendectomy. Now that in and of itself is not a big deal. Somebody somewhere around the world is either getting an appendectomy right now or they think they are, but it's their brain. But I'm telling you, appendectomy's not a big deal, somebody's getting one probably done right now. This doctor, by the way, who's doing this surgery, Dr. Evan O'Neill Kane, he examined the patient that he operated own and he said, "No doubt about it, he clearly has a case of appendicitis".

Dr. Kane knew what he was talking about because in 37 years of practicing medicine, he had performed 4,000 appendectomies. So you would think on this particular day it's just another routine appendectomy surgery, except there were two things that day that made this surgery unique, and there were two things that day that made this surgery unlike any other surgery that had ever been done in history. Dr. Kane had been looking for a while for a volunteer, someone that was willing to undergo surgery for an appendectomy without being put to sleep, just local anesthesia, staying awake the entire time. Well, guess what? People didn't line up out the door to be the first guy to give that a shot, I mean nobody. Because when he would explain, "Hey, I'm telling you, I know it's safe, I know it will work," nobody wanted to do it number one.

Some people said, "I don't wanna be awake when you're cutting me open". A lot of people said, "Yeah, but what if the anesthesia wears off too quickly"? So Dr. Kane couldn't find a candidate, and he was so frustrated because he kept telling his colleagues, "I'm telling you, we need to get away from a lot of anesthesia, it's dangerous". And it is. It's risky when you go, you know, when they put you to sleep. He said, "It would be so much safer to just do you know, to locally anesthetize a patient," and they agreed with and they thought he was right, but nobody wanted to give it a shot. So Tuesday morning February the 15th, this historic operation takes place. He finally found a candidate that was willing to do it.

So the patient was prepped, he was wheeled in the operating room. The local anesthetic was applied, and as he had already done over 4,000 times, Dr. Kane dissected that tissue, he removed the appendix, he sewed him back up. He took him into post op, he was placed in a room. He recovered so quickly was out of the hospital in two days. And Dr. Kane was elated, because he had finally proven his theory to be correct, and thanks to that brave volunteer, Dr. Kane was able to make medical history. But that's the only, that's just the one first thing that made this so unique. It's the first time anybody had ever had their appendix removed without being put to sleep. But it was the second thing that made it really unique, because the patient that Dr. Kane operated on was Dr. Kane. He operated on himself. He applied the anesthetic. He cut himself open. He took out his appendix. He sewed himself back. He operated literally on himself.

I read that story and I thought, that, what an incredible story. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. It can't compare to the Christmas story of the God who became flesh. You know why? To take his own medicine. 'Cause see, some of you sitting out here right now, and Christmas is tough for you. And here's why Christmas is tough for you. Because you're suffering physically, emotionally, mentally. You're suffering. You know suffering. "Yeah, do I really". So did Jesus. You know disappointment. So does Jesus. You know betrayal. So does Jesus. You know hurt and heartache. So does Jesus. You know what it's like when you, a person you thought would take a bullet for you, would die for you, your best friend, turned tail and ran and turned his back on you. So did Jesus.

You know heartache, you know hurt, you know hopelessness, you face death. So did Jesus. He experienced all of it as a man, but he overcame all of it as God. You know why? Because he wanted to come and say, "Listen, I'm not above you, I'm with you. I'm one of you. I'm gonna go through everything you go through. We're gonna do life together 'cause I'm gonna do it just like you. I don't, I'm not taking any exemptions, I'm not taking any exceptions. I'm gonna go through the junk and the dirt and the mud and the hurt and the heartache and the disappointment and the disillusionment and the discouragement just like you".

Let me tell you, it is amazing how God still shows up today. Just, I mean today, he still shows up today. I told you we went to the mall yesterday, and I'll be on me, we had to park, we parked in Gainesville, took a bus to the mall, it was terrible. We did, we parked, I mean, a mile away parked. And I wasn't in the best moods. I'm not gonna lie, I mean, I'm a human being too, and I wasn't all that totally thrilled about going there. But we did have some things, she had some she had to pick up and I had some money to get so anyhow, we went to the food court, that was a, we thought it was a food court, it was a zoo. I'm not making this up. Every single place you wanted to eat, I counted 'em, there were a minimum of 15 people lined up at every place. I think The Chick-fil-A had 107,000 if I remember.

So we finally got in line, and so we're about to get our food and Teresa said, "Hey, we gotta find a place to sit". So she turned around and there were two chairs left in that whole food court. There were two chairs at a bar up there. She said, "Hey, I'll go get those two chairs". I kind of looked over and there was this little old lady hopping. I said, "Hurry, beat that little old lady". Just a joke. I didn't do it, just a joke. Don't email me, don't write me, I, just a joke. So she goes over there and gets the chair. There was two chairs and there was one, it was a chair on the end, and then there was these two chairs.

So I bring the food, I go over there, I sit down. I said, "Okay. I said, honey, let's pray". We're gonna say the blessing. So I prayed, I was praying out loud. When I said "Amen," the guy sitting next to me, he said, "Amen". And I turned around, and he's kind of smiling and I said, "Well, I appreciate that". I said, "I'm assuming I didn't offend you". I didn't know if he's being serious or not. I said, "Hope I didn't offend you". he said, "Oh, no, no, no". he said, "Man, it was it was refreshing," he said, "I'm glad to hear somebody pray". So we just got to talking. So I says, "What are you doing at the mall"? He said, "Well, I'm actually going to see a movie". And I said, "Really"? He said, "Yeah," said, "I'm meeting a friend of mine here".

And I said, "Oh, that's great," I asked him what movie, he told me what movie he's gonna see. "Yeah," he says, "I'm just trying to kind of get away from things". I said, "Like what"? He teared up. He said, "Well, my twin brother died last Saturday, a week ago". He said, "We lived together for a year". He said, "My twin brother died of lung cancer". I said, "Yeah, that's how my dad died". Guy says, "It's just terrible". I said, "Yeah, I've been through it with my dad". He said, "You know, I was his caretaker. We lived together, so I was his caretaker for almost a year". I said, "Man, I'm so sorry to hear that". I mean, he just, this guy was about to lose it.

So he said, "You know, I took him home," he said, "last Saturday". He said, "They wanted to give him 38 more radiation treatments, and he said, he just finally had enough. He told the doctor, he said, 'No more. I don't want any more. I just want to go home and die. The doctor said, 'Well, you can't go home.'" The doctor walked out and he looked at his brother and he says, his brother's name was his brother, the guy I was talking was Doug. His name was David.

So his brother David looked at Doug and he said, "Doug, just take me home". This guy didn't know what I, he didn't know who I was, and so he said, "You know what I did"? I said, "What"? He said, "I picked my brother up, put him in the wheelchair, I walked out to the desk. I said, 'Here's my credit card, take care of the bill.' I walked him down, I took him home. I got him in his bed. 45 minutes later, he died". And he said and he really teared up. He said, "Do you know what my brother said to me coming home"? I said, "No, Doug, what did he say"? He said, "He looked at me and he said, brother, I am so sorry that I've been such a burden to you for a year". He said, "You know what I told him"? I said, "What"? He said, "I looked at him and I said, 'You're not a burden, you're my brother.'"

I looked at him and I said, "Doug, you know what," I said. "That's what Christmas is all about". I said, "Jesus came to earth, not because we were a burden. It's because we had a burden, and he wanted to be the brother to take care of it". Well, he starts weeping, and I get teared up. He looked at me and he says, "What do you do"? I started to say a brain surgeon, but. I said, "Well," I said, "I'm a pastor". And when I said, I'm a pastor, Teresa will tell you, he just almost lost it. He said, "I've been sitting here, just hoping somebody would come sit next to me that could understand what I'm going through and just talk to me".

I'll tell you what I told him. I said, "You know what," I said, "take this the right way". I said, "I just happened to be the guy that brought. It's not that I showed up, God showed up". And let me tell you something. 2,000 years ago, God showed up. He still shows up in 2018. He will show up in 2019. He will be there when you need him. He will never walk out on you. He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. He will never turn his back on you. And listen, I'm getting chill bumps right now and I'm not even dead. No matter how low in the mud or the dirt you get thrown, he'll be in the mud in the dirt with you. That is Christmas theology and I'm so thankful for what it is.
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