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Merry Christmas! We are only one week away from Christmas day.  Many of us will need to adapt our Christmas celebrations this year.  If families are getting together in person, they will take special precautions.  Many people will simply see each other through the wonder of technologies such as Facetime or Zoom.  Although we are adapting our traditions to reduce the spread of COVID-19, it will not be the same.  How do we do Christmas?  This is question most of us are trying to answer. This is compounded by the difficulties of the entire year.  Don’t let all of the stuff of 2020 wear you out and wear you down!  In our sermon series Stealing Christmas, Take 2 the sermon is Overcoming Discouragement.  The natural consequence of isolation, change, and uncertainty is discouragement.  God wants to lift your heart, your spirit, and your joy as you come to worship!  This week, we turn to Isaiah 7:4-14.  This is timely for 2020.  The King of Juda and the people of the nation were overwhelmed with fear and uncertainty.  They were discouraged, but God shows them the path to strength and courage for their time.  We understand these words even better than King Ahaz and the people of his nation because the prophecy of the child in this passage was fulfilled to Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem.  This is the light of world for everyone.  As you read these words, may your discouragement melt through the warmth of God’s presence and care!   Isaiah 7:4-14: Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood– because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. 5 Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying, 6 “Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.” 7 Yet this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “‘It will not take place, it will not happen, 8 for the head of Aram is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is only Rezin. Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people. 9 The head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son. If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.’” 10 Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, 11 “Ask the LORD your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.” 12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the LORD to the test.” 13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.  (NIV)