Summary: Christmas is supposed to be the "Most Wonderful Time of the Year," but for many it generates conflicts, sadness, loneliness, stress, etc. What's God's prescription for beating the Christmas blues?
BEATING THE CHRISTMAS BLUES
1. There are a lot of things Dads don't typically do much of around Christmas -- like shopping.
2. A little girl noticed this and asked, "Is it true that Santa Claus brings us our Christmas presents?" Her Mother said, "Yes, that's true."
3. The Daughter said, "And the stork brings us babies?" The Mother responded, "Yes, that's true."
4. The Daughter asked, "And the Police Department protects us?" Her Mother said, "That's right." The Daughter asked in consternation, "Then what do we need daddy for?"
5. We need dad to help pay the bills!
B. “BIBLE DAYS! HOW WONDERFUL!”
1. SONG: THE 12 PAINS OF CHRISTMAS, BOB RIVERS
The first thing at Christmas that's such a pain to me
Is finding a Christmas tree
The second thing at Christmas that's such a pain to me:
Rigging up the lights
And finding a Christmas tree
The third thing at Christmas that's such a pain to me
2. ALL 12 PAINS IN REVERSE ORDER:
Singing Christmas carols
Stale TV specials
Batteries not included
No parking spaces
Gotta go to the bathroom!
Fa-cing my in-laws
Five months of bills!
Sending Christmas cards
Rigging up the lights
And finding a Christmas tree. Is Christmas really just a pain?
C. “IS THIS REALLY CHRISTMAS?”
1. Joe Bunting, a writer, asked people to write about Christmas. He expected to hear the Andy Williams version, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”
2. But what he mainly got were stories about growing old, comparisons with happier Christmases, stories about cancer, etc.
3. 7 MAJOR PROBLEMS PEOPLE HAVE AT CHRISTMAS
a. Finances. Not enough money.
b. Stress…shopping, planning, dinners, decorations, etc.
c. Loneliness. A whopping 43 percent of Americans are single, and 27 percent of Americans live alone. Tough.
d. Grief. Missing a deceased loved one. Christmas is made 2X as sad when we’re missing one who made it good.
e. Estrangement. When you’re not speaking to a relative, family get-togethers can usher in feelings of sadness, guilt, resentment, or inner conflict about whether to communicate.
f. Divorce. If you’re newly divorced, the holidays may remind you of happier times and accentuate your grief.
g. Pleasing others. We try to meet everyone’s expectations & prob. fail. [Understanding & Coping with the Christmas Blues, By DARLENE LANCER]
4. We’re going to read about a Bible couple who also had a difficult Christmas season.
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. Matthew 1:18-21,24.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem…5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” Luke 2:4-7.
E. A PERFECT BEGINNING
1. Luke 1:26-46 records how Mary's part in the Christmas account begins with angelic visitations to tell her of the birth of the child and Spirit-inspired Prophecies (Elizabeth, her cousin).
2. God sends angels, fills people with the Holy Spirit, and performs miracles.
3. But this was followed by a time when circumstances seem to contradict God's great purposes for this Child.
4. Did God have a prescription to help them (and us) with their Christmas blues? Title: “Beating the Christmas Blues.”
I. JOSEPH & MARY’S NIGHTMARE
A. JOSEPH’S BETRAYAL
1. Poor Joseph! He & Mary’s marriage got off to a bad start -- Mary turned up pregnant during the engagement and Joseph knew that the child was not his; they had never been intimate.
2. What must have been Joseph's feelings?
a. ANGER? Yes. Anger at her unfaithfulness and at whomever had defiled their marriage bed.