Summary: Many times I like to search for something unique and different for a Christmas message. So today I want to break from the traditional text and search for Christmas in a not so obvious passage. In 1843 Charles Dickens penned these words that begin what
TITLE: CHRISTMAS PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE
TEXT: Colossians 1:19-22
Many times I like to search for something unique and different for a Christmas message. So today I want to break from the traditional text and search for Christmas in a not so obvious passage.
In 1843 Charles Dickens penned these words that begin what is known to you and me as “A Christmas Carol”…”I have endeavored in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.” It would be my endeavor this morning as we think upon this Christmas season, to raise to life from the Bible our Christmas Past, Present and Future. Christmas holds for each of us a past that must be faced, a present that must be lived, and a future that must be longed for.
Christmas holds the mystery of God’s giving wrapped in swaddling clothes lying on a tree fashioned into a cross. God’s gift was not one to be purchased, but the gift would purchase you & me. From the manger to the cross we hear the whispered name of God with us, Immanuel.
So when the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4) had come God sent His Son into this world filled with the fullness of Himself (Colossians 1:19, 2:9), God in the flesh, so that you and I may receive of His fullness (John 1:16). Christmas at its best!
Man in his best efforts comes to the manger emptied handed only to receive the blessedness of God’s peace and good will that offers him…Forgiveness of the Christmas Past…Help in the Christmas Present…& Hope for the Christmas Future.
CHRISTMAS PAST: You Once Were…
Reading from “A Christmas Carol”…”Are you the spirit, sir, whose coming was foretold to me?” asked Scrooge. “I am.” The voice was soft and gentle. Singularly low, as if instead of being so close beside him, it were at a distance. “Who, and what are you?” Scrooge demanded. “I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.” “Long Past?” inquired Scrooge: observant of its dwarfish stature. “No. Your past.”
The words “No, Your past” should cause us this morning to look into our past and admit it is a horrid one full of sin and shame.
No one likes to see themselves for what they really are, sinful. Because we really don’t believe we’re all that bad.
Every one of us needs to look at our past. None of us are ready for the present or the future until we deal with our past. You and I can’t walk in the fulness of God until we deal with our past.
For the sinner the past can haunt you; for the Christian it can be forgiven never to bother us again. Is there anything in your past you are holding onto that needs to be forgiven or dealt with?
Our text today underscores our Christmas Past as one of alienation, enemies of God desiring to do bad things. “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in you mind by wicked works” (1:21a).
As Christians we can be thankful that our sins of the past have been forgiven.
True happiness only comes as our sins of the past have been forgiven.
If you aren’t a Christian, your past is keeping you from God and God from you. You are alienated from God. Only forgiveness of your past can bring you near to God.
Until you and I see our Christmas Past as being separated from God because of our sin and in need of God we will never fully appreciate the Christmas Present nor Christmas Future to come.
CHRISTMAS PRESENT: You Are Now…
Reading from “A Christmas Carol”…”Come in!” exclaimed the Ghost. “Come in, and know me better, man.” Scrooge entered timidly, and hung his head before this spirit. He was not the dogged Scrooge he had been; and though the spirit’s eyes were clear and kind, he did not like to meet them. “I am the Ghost of Christmas Present.” Said the spirit. “Look upon me.”
God does not intend to leave you or I wrestling with the spirit of the Christmas Past for there in the midst of our darkened sin stained life is the glimmer of Light emanation from the cross fashioned tree and the closer we move toward it we begin to hear the call of the Christmas Present that says “Look upon Me!” “Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22).
The only way you and I can be truly happy during Christmas Present is to “Look upon Him.” The apostle Paul affirms our Christmas Present with these words…”yet not He has reconciled (you) in the body of His flesh through death” (Colossians 1:21b, 22a).