Summary: How can you still celebrate Christmas when you're surrounded by troubles? So were Mary and Joseph at the first Christmas, but Christmas still came and God brought healing to their world!
CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS WHEN THE GRINCH SHOWS UP
A. CHRISTMAS IS ALWAYS A WONDERFUL TIME?
1. This whole month of December we’re looking at Christmas through the eyes of Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch. So keep an eye out for his green skin!
2. Have you ever had some major plans disrupted and things go nothing like you were anticipating due to no fault of your own?
3. Weddings are notorious for not going according to plan. Take this wedding mishap for instance. Chloe & Keith’s Wedding Disaster VIDEO – available on Youtube (40 sec)
4. 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.”
5. But what he mainly got were stories about growing old, comparisons with happier Christmases, stories about cancer, etc. IN OTHER WORDS, THEIR JOY IN CHRISTMAS HAD BEEN STOLEN BY TROUBLES.
6. 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 live alone. Tough.
d. Grief. Missing a deceased loved one.
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. The holidays may remind you of happier times.
g. Pleasing others. We try to meet everyone’s expectations & prob. fail. [Darlene Lancer]
7. But troubles have been associated with Christmas since the very first one. Let’s read about it.
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…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.
C. A PERFECT BEGINNING
1. Mary's part in the Christmas story had begun with visits from Angels, the miraculous conception, people being filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophecies over the baby of a world-altering future.
2. But this was followed by a time when circumstances seem to contradict God's great purposes for this Child.
3. So how did Mary and Joseph cope with their troubles? To say it another way, how do you “Celebrate(ing) Christmas When the Grinch Shows Up?”
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.
2. HOW DO YOU THINK JOSEPH FELT?
a. ANGER? Yes. Anger at her unfaithfulness.
b. EMBARASSMENT? Yes. Half of his friends thought him a fool for picking her and letting her get away with it. The other half thought that he was the guilty party. So Joseph’s reputation took a hit.
c. SORROW? No doubt. His life had been planned around her and he was sorry for her too; she had ruined her life.
d. NOW WHAT TO DO? The Jewish law allowed stoning (Deut. 22:23-24), but NO, He loved her too much for that; He would divorce her quietly.
3. Here we have a person in the center of God's will and disaster strikes. “Why did God allow this?”
4. But the story isn’t over. God sent an angel to Joseph to explain that Mary was carrying the Savior of the World. God brought peace to Joseph’s storm and He will to yours too!
B. FROM MARY’S ANGLE: REPUTATION RUINED
1. Mary was one of the most righteous women of all time. And yet she became ostracized and stigmatized for a pregnancy that was not caused by sin.