Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Are you a part of the Inn Crowd or the stable Few?
“Once in Royal City David” Piano Solo Sally Deford
Narrator 1: ”For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given:”
Joseph went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with Child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. ”And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”
Narrator 2: Tonight We would like you to reflect on the Significance of the location of 2 sets of people, and decide now which group you would have liked to be a part of; those in the Inn and those few that were in the stable. Both groups were in that little town of bethlehem and both groups were under that same bright star. But only one of those groups were in attendance for the birth of the only perfect person the world will ever know, Jesus Christ, our savior and redeemer.
Oh little town of Bethlehem (Congregation Sing along)
Narrator 3: Have you ever wondered why there was no room in the Inn?
As everyone returns to their hometowns to pay taxes, they are all needing lodging. Every hotel in town is crowded, full to capacity, picture the Inn, imagine tables of people from wall to wall. People sitting along all the edges of the main room with nothing but standing room available. The crowd in the Inn was probably loud and chaotic. We have no idea what kind of people were staying in the Inn that night. There were many really good people, hardworking and kind people staying there in the Inn, but they didn’t know that just a few steps outside in the stable, a savior was born. Their savior, the savior of the world. They missed it for what ever reason! They missed it!
Narrator 4: People go to Inns for a place to spend the night, to sleep, On that sacred silent night the people of the Inn were likely sleeping. Are we sometimes Sleepy in our actions toward the gospel?
President Uchtdorf said “I suppose there are a variety of reasons why it is easy to become a bit sleepy with regard to building the kingdom of God. Let me mention three major ones…Selfishness, addiction and priorities… I invite you to ponder if any might apply. If you see room for improvement, I ask you to consider what could be done to change for the better.”
What if the crowd in the Inn had known what was happening, Would they have done anything different? Would they have awaken, prepared for the birth of that special baby boy? If the Inn Keeper had known, who he turned away, would he have changed his mind and given Mary and Joseph a room.
Inn Keeper Forgotten carols Let him in…. Video (youtube)
Narrator 1: And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the LORD came upon them, and the glory of the LORD shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the LORD. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Narrator 2: The Shepherd is one of the humblest of people. Their job was to lead and guide the sheep to food and to safety. The savior himself is called “The shepherd”. The good shepherd, symbolically, his followers are like sheep whom Jesus watches over. There shall be one fold, and one shepherd. He numbereth his sheep and they know him:
A Man is sitting in a waiting room, waiting to go into an interview. Nervously He begins to ease drop on an ongoing interview happening in the next room. The interviewer asks Do you know who Jesus Christ is? The man explains how he was born in a manger to a mother Mary and a father Joseph, How he healed the sick, made the lame to walk and the blind to see. He told how Jesus walked on water and was baptized in the Jordan River by John the baptist. The interviewer asked if there is anything else he’d like to add about who Jesus Christ is? He continued explaining how Jesus accomplished many miracles, he suffered for us all and died on a cross and 3 days later was resurrected. The Interviewer thanked the man he was interviewing for sharing his knowledge of the savior and dismissed him. The second man walked into the room and immediately fell to the floor and with tears and broken sobs declared “My Savior….Master… and Redeemer”.
Narrator 4: The difference between being Christ’s sheep or not, is the sheep know their shepherd. In order to be one of the “stable few” we must learn to recognize the good shepherd and follow him. We’ve also been told that we must be like Christ and be shepherds for his people. Leave the ninety and nine and go find the one that is missing from our flock. President Uchtdorf in a resent conference said “There is too much at stake for us as individuals, as families, and as Christ’s Church to give only a halfhearted effort to this sacred work.”
While shepherds watch their flocks (Sally Deford Choir with soundtrack)
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with Child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His Name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the LORD by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with Child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His Name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God With Us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the LORD had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn Son: and he called His Name JESUS.
Narrator 2: Mary was Jesus’ only earthly parent because God the Father was Jesus’ father. But the Jews thought of Joseph as Jesus’ father, and Jesus treated him as such (Luke 2:48, 51). Warned by heavenly dreams, Joseph preserved the infant Jesus. Like this humble carpenter, Joseph, we are often given calls from the Lord that may seem difficult for others to understand. Assignments and tasks that may seem overwhelming and sometimes impossible. But as we choose to be humble and diligent to the Lord’s call, He can use us to accomplish some of his most important work. We are like a raw piece of wood. In the hands of a master carpenter, we can be shaped into beautiful masterpieces.
When Joseph went to bethlehem. (Children song book)
Narrator 3: And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
Narrator 4: By word and deed, Mary, the mother of Jesus, teaches devoted followers of her son about the significant virtues of a true disciple. Although little of Mary’s life is actually recorded, what is recorded reveals a pattern of righteousness. That pattern is faithful obedience to the word of God, expressive joy for God’s blessings, readiness to receive God’s witness and counsel from His servants, and rearing a posterity who glorified God.
Mary was highly favored of God and chosen to be the mother of Jesus Christ. Her
humility, devotion, strength and love stand as a model for all Christian disciples.
A Manger filled with love (Sally Deford Soundtrack)
Narrator 1: Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king,
behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is He that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen His Star in the east, and are come to worship Him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea:…Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the Star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young Child; and when ye have found Him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship Him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the Star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the Star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
Narrator 2: We read about the wise men. They were men of God who studied the words of the prophets. They knew the signs of the Jews.” When they saw his star they came seeking him to worship Him. Now a days, wise men still seek him! They are prepared and watching for the time that the Savior comes again.
Christmas time is a season of gift giving, we do so in memory of the gifts given by the Wise Men to the Christ child and the gift Christ gave us in the Atonement.
What gifts are you giving this christmas? (pause for effect)
Would it not be well this Christmas to give first to the Lord, directly through obedience, sacrifice, and love, and then to give to him indirectly through our gifts to our friends and to those in need, as well as to our own family? Should we do this, perhaps many of us would discover a new Christmas joy. Christmas gifts should be in memory of the divine gift, the life of Jesus Christ. His gift gave us Eternal Life; our gifts should enliven with joy those who receive them. His gift was the sacrifice of his earthly life; our gifts should represent personal sacrifices on our part.
Excitement is in the air as we anticipate giving and receiving gifts. Gifts come in all sizes and shapes, but it seems that the best gifts are those that can’t be wrapped: gifts of service, family, faith, and testimony.
What child is this? (double duet With Sound track)
Narrator 3: On That one special night there were 2 sets of people in the little town of bethlehem; the Inn Crowd and the few in the stable. The Biggest difference between the 2 was those who were in attendance. Right there, under the same star, in the same city, our savior Jesus Christ was born and those in the Inn missed it. They just missed one of the most important events our world would ever experience because they were unaware and/or busy. One of Satan’s greatest tools is distraction. Keeping us so busy that we miss those things in our lives that let us know our savior. Time is the one thing we all have the same of and how we spend it separates us, from the Inn crowd and the stable few.
Narrator 4: As members of the Church we have been counseled to live in this world but not be of the world. We are counseled to know “which way we face”. We all have choices that prove our loyalty and obedience to God’s commandments. Every waking moment we are making choices that either bring us closer to the stable, to see our savior, or it keeps us further away keeping us stagnant in the Inn. Our motivations should be sincere with out the fear of men,
Narrator 1: Elder Lynn Robbins, in our last general conference said:
“Trying to please others before pleasing God is inverting the first and second great commandments. It is forgetting which way we face. And yet, we have all made that mistake because of the fear of men. In Isaiah the Lord warns us, “Fear ye not the reproach of men” In Lehi’s dream, this fear was triggered by the finger of scorn pointed from the great and spacious building, causing many to forget which way they faced and to leave the tree “ashamed”.
Narrator 2: The Inn Crowd, Like the great and spacious building, were too involved in their comings and goings to realize what a spectacular event was happening just a couple yards away. Whenever we approach hard choices in our lives, let us ask ourselves: Which group do you belong to. Which way do you face? Are you one of the stable few? Do you leave the ninety and nine to find the one? Do you pattern your life after the Savior, with humility and obedience? Are you willing to give of yourself to the savior?
Narrator 3: This Christmas season let us try harder not to fit in to the world around us. Let us find confidence to stand out and hold strong to our testimonies. Let us lose greed, and selfishness and learn to think more of others, in order to give of ourselves. This year let each one of us honestly reflect this question “Are you part of the Inn crowd or are you one of the stable few?”
Testimony by Bishop
Silent Night (Congregational Song)