Summary: The birth of Christ gives us as believers a joyous spirit of Praise.
There are several biblical pictures of the Christmas story: there is the picture of Wise men coming to worship the Christ child, there is the picture of the righteous man Simeon who was waiting to behold the Consolation of Israel, there is the picture of the aged saintly woman Anna, who was walking in such a devoutness to God, she made her abode in the Temple. There is the picture of celestial beings breaking out in Holy bedlam to the Shepherds in the field watching over their lambs. The Christmas stories are our Christian story of the coming of the Christ child. And these various pictures teach us as a church and individuals lessons and principles about the Christian story. For us, Christmas is about Joy, it’s a joy that transcends what one has or does not have. While the absence or lack of things may get in the way, when you allow the Christ of Christmas to be real, and His joy to abide, it helps you to rise above the idea of lack and absence. It’s about Patience, the presence of the Christ will help you to wait for that deliverance to come, the Christ of Christmas will give you the assurance that deliverance is coming. The Spirit of Christmas is about hope, a hope rooted in the promise and providence of God. That God ultimately keeps His word and does only what a God like this can do. And even next week you will hear another aspect of the Christmas story. But today, I want to deposit in your mind, in your heart, and perhaps in your spirit, that Christmas is equally a time to praise. This world has invested heavily on the secular and the mercantile emphasis of Christmas, their message is clear, convicting, compelling, and convincing (go through any neighborhood social structure). The church needs to understand that strategy, which we ought to be passionate and persistent about our story. We have a clear, convicting, compelling, and convincing message of our faith. And we really do have it; we just do not have our sales persons with spiritual energies and excitement, and carrying the brand with enthusiasm. We just do not have sales persons with the right spirit of the company.
In a world of recession, in a state of decline, with a Governor who seems detached from the common day experiences of the marginalized, the disenfranchised, and the unemployed, with a legislative body in Washington who apparently would rather try to resists and reject the leadership of one man and cause all in this country to be in the wilderness, you (We) still have a lots to praise him for. You need to remember it’s the Christian job to give praise; it’s the church’s job to give praise. Praise in Christmas time will not necessarily come from the secular or the merchants, praise must come from praisers. Praise must come from that section of the world who can say, through the dangers, toils and snares we have come through, through the decline we have come through, through shaking times and unsettling economy, we have come through. Through some fears and scares we have come through, through some moments of uncertainty and pain, we have come through. Through some heartaches and headaches, we have come through. And some have not come through, they are yet going through, they are still in the tunnel of uncertainty, but let me remind you, if you keep moving forward there is an exit of that tunnel. There is some light ahead. And so, one can still say Lord I thank you, that you kept me upright, when life had me uptight. You kept me on my feet when my path became slippery, and when it got dark, You gave me a little light to find and figure out the way. And when You allowed no light on my journey, You allow me to stand still in the darkness (and You stood there with me) to learn how to trust in a no light situation.
The redeemed of the Lord are the ones entrusted to give praise, and don’t be so righteous that you negate the surfaces symbols of Christmas. It is about Rudolph the red nose reindeer, jingle bells, chestnut roasting on an open fire, the guy and the red suit, trees, lights, presents, and bulbs, those are the symbols and earthly addendums of something for us that is deeper and more substance than the surface. These aspects would not even exist if it was not for the story of the Christ child. Don’t be so spiritual that you can not join the frolic, but you must remember you are children of the King; you have something to praise God for. And if you are silent, the rocks will cry out.