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Summary: Christ came to break the chains of sin and death!

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Sermon: "Chains Shall He Break" D Anderson

Is. 9:2-7; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-20

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The Lord Jesus once proclaimed of Himself,

"If the Son sets you free, you are free

indeed." Titus picks up on this when He

speaks of Christ’s journey to the Cradle, and

from the cradle to the cross. From Titus,

the second chapter, in Jesus name: “For the

grace of God that brings salvation has

appeared to all men.” (Titus 2:11 NIV)

RATTLE... RATTLE... CLANK.... CLANK....

CLANK...

EB-O-NEE-ZER SCROOGE!

With these horrifying sounds the candlelight

serenity of Ebenezer’s upper chamber was

shattered, and with it crumbled his

comfortable, pat view about life.

MOST EVERYBODY HAS SEEN AT LEAST ONE VERSION

OF THE CHRISTMAS CAROL. Already this year I

have seen the Muppet version, and just last

Sunday, I saw it presented again at the

Gutherie Theater.

The Christmas Carol has become synonymous

with this time of the year. We all feel good

after we experience it, written or presented,

and yet..... WHY?

LET’S LOOK AT THIS work by Charles Dickens,

and see what it has to say about the true

meaning of Christmas.

The central figure of The Christmas Carol is

Ebenezer Scrooge... His very name "scrooge"

stands for the worst in human selfishness.

Just look at old Scrooge at the beginning of

the story:

--> This man was materialistic. His

life... ALL LIFE!... measured its

worth on a profit and loss sheet.

--> Scrooge was selfish-- He wasn’t

concerned for the poor and

orphaned, only the building of

his financial empire.

--> And miserly!-- Making money,

money, money was his only

motivation.

--> AND WITH MISERLY, CAME STINGY! He

would count the coals used at the

office, caring little that Bob

Cratchet was cold and miserable.

--> Ebenezer Scrooge was joyless--

BAH! HUMBUG! to everything bright,

beautiful, and festive.

--> This old, crotchety fellow was

harsh! His own and only nephew

was verbally assaulted and almost

roasted out of Scrooge’s office.

--> Amid all his wealth, he lived a

spartan life in the servant’s

quarters of his mansion.

To sum it all up Scrooge was driven to

accumulate wealth, and considered the world a

cold, hard place which worked according to

the survival of the fittest. “LET the

poor and orphans die, and decrees the

worlds surplus population!”--he was

analytic with figures, even to the point of

death.

SHAME ON EBENEZER SCROOGE! SHAME ON THAT

MATERIALISTIC, TIGHT, COLD HEARTED MAN!

And yet, if we peel beneath the veneers of

our own lives, don’t many of us see the face

of the crotchety old materialist? How many

of us here today are using our time, talents

and treasures to build the Kingdom of God in

the world, and how many of us our building

our own kingdoms in the world!

Scrooge was building his kingdom-- Bah Humbug

to any other greater reality, but then came

the rattling and the clanking of heavy chains

and metal money boxes.

Scrooge is confronted with a world bigger

than his money making and selfish living.

The presentation of The Christmas Carol at

the Guthrie this year had Scrooge making some

comical remarks as he tried to settle into

his servant’s quarters for the night. Cracks

like, "I like the cold... it’s cheep!"

He also liked the dark...he liked living

alone. It all meant that he could hide in

his miser’s world.

BUT ENTER JACOB MARLEY-- a spirit, not

flesh....not of this world; and Scrooge’s

pat, little world begins to crumble. There

really is something bigger than this world...

than making money.... than living for

ourselves.

ABOUT 2,000 YEARS AGO, another personality

entered history, not with rattle and clank,

but with angel’s wings and songs. Not a

spirit, but the custodian of all that is

spiritual.

AND NOW FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS, not just the

hundreds measured from the death of Dickens,

some have looked at the One who wore the

cradle and the cross, and they never look at

the world the same way again--people like

you.

We know that something very big is out

there... watching... working.. seeking...

giving peace and joy.

Jesus is so different than Marley who

confronted Scrooge with the law. In Marley

the spiritual world pointed an accusing

finger at him.

We look at the Child of Bethlehem, and we see

sheer grace! John was inspired to say it

like this: 16 “From the fullness of his

grace we have all received one blessing after

another. 17 For the law was given through

Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus

Christ.” (John 1 NIV)

What a difference it makes in people when

they believe that Jesus TRULY IS the Son of

God and not just the product of an under-

cooked potato in the human imagination.

MY FRIENDS, let’s go again to the Bethlehem

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