Summary: This sermon takes a look at Christmas through the eyes of others such as missionaries, law enforcement, and the incarcerated. It reminds us that the message of Christmas rings clear and true in spite of whatever circumstances we may face.
THROUGH THE EYES...
A. There was nothing more exciting than Christmas when I was a kid
1. After searching the Sears and JCPenneys Christmas catalogs I had put in my order of things I wanted, but it was always a surprise as to what we would actually find under the tree.
a. The rule was that we were not allowed to open or play with any presents until everyone was awake.
b. Then we would take turns opening presents
c. We always opened clothes first–socks and underwear were always among the first few packages
d. But it was always tough waiting to open the final packages because we always knew that they were the fun stuff
Things likes the Creepy Crawler set
Or the deluxe chemistry set with 7 sections, 40 chemicals, a Bunsen burner, and more than 900 experiments
B. However, as you grow older your perspective changes
1. As you deal with life’s experiences, your perspective changes
a. Sometimes I think we need to look at Christmas through a different set of eyes
b. We need to see Christmas from a different perspective
2. I suppose that my perspective about Christmas really changed during the Christmas of 1983.
a. My grandmother acquired a cold about a week before Christmas–with a few days the cold turned into pneumonia which eventually sent her to the hospital.
b. When we got up Christmas morning we went to the Intensive Care unit where we spent Christmas day, taking turns to go and see Grandma during the allotted times.
c. Finally, at 11:30 that night, Grandma passed away
d. The next day our families gathered together to unwrap the packages that Grandma had already bought
It was a tough thing to do, but even in that dark moment joy was experienced as we shared stories about the gifts received, and past Christmas’, and how grandma had to make sure that she never spent a penny more on one of us than she did on the other
C. So I began to wonder what Christmas might be for others
1. What about the Zebedee Togarepi and his wife Rhatidzo, missionaries we support, working in Zimbabwe and Mozambique
a. I doubt that X-box, or Playstation 2 is on the Christmas list of those children
b. Yet, God is making a tremendous difference in the lives of the African people
D. Through the Eyes of those who work to enforce our laws and protects our homes and streets
LETTER> Russ Rigney
As I was growing up, Christmas was always a very special time. I now realize that I was naive, but it seemed that this was the time of year that everyone was supposed to get along; everyone was joyous in the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior, and if we could only spread out this special celebration to be an all year round event, everything would be right in the world. Then I became a cop.
What I have seen in my career at Christmas time showed me another side to life. Christmas has negative emotional baggage also. Whether it is a result of the commercialization of the holiday or just simply the year round coveting of another’s property, there are the thefts of packages from vehicles at shopping centers, and the loss of Christmas presents in burglaries, leaving people without the presents that they had intended for their family and friends and no money to replace what they have lost.
In addition to the thefts, and burglaries, and probably to a greater extent are the domestic disputes that seem to occur more frequently this time of year. People yelling and screaming at one another, parents walking out on their families, and increased acts of domestic violence. Emotions are stronger with the stress of the season. Money issues; crowded stores; traffic problems; worries about who to and who not to buy for; finding time to do all the things that need to be done; anguishing about just the right presents, and not to forget the increased use in alcohol as this is a holiday another reason to drink.
Lastly, and possibly the most sad, are the folks that are suffering from depression brought on by the holidays and being without a special person in their life. A lot of us take the joyous time of the year for granted while there are countless people who are going through the holidays alone. Maybe they have lost their partner in life, or a parent, or a child, or a brother or sister, and this time of year brings back a flood of memories, and the renewed sense of loss during this special time. Sometimes the depression leads to a lot of drinking or fighting...sometimes it leads to suicide.
While I want to remember the reason for the season, and the birth of Christ is an event to be rejoiced, our problems continue, and for many these problems detract from the holiday and quite often overshadow it. The enemy is still hard at work.