Summary: This sermon deals with the need for us to be changed if Christmas is to have a real meaning for our lives.
CHRISTMAS, HAS IT CHANGED YOU
Christmas, has it changed you? When asked how had Christmas
changed his life, one man responded, well I had a lot more money
before Christmas than I have after it. Christmas changes us into
frantic shoppers, busy house cleaners, talented decorators,
traveling visitors, hospitality hosts for family members and
excited young people looking forward to the gifts that we might
receive. Christmas changes businesses by brining in billions of
dollars on presents that will be given to others. Christmas
changes our work and school schedules by giving us days off.
Christmas changes our church giving, as we use what should have
been God’s money upon ourselves and our friends for presents.
Yet despite all these changes, somehow, that’s not what God
is looking for when He asks us the question, "Has it changed you
yet." The world would have us believe that Christmas is the
happiest time of the year, and that we are all going to have a
great time, with great gifts, and great get togethers. We think
that the lights, and the decorations, and the beautiful trees,
and the presents are going to transform our lives into some kind
of miraculous peace and joy and happiness.
The reality however is that when Jesus is left out of
Christmas, nothing really changes. More people will feel lonely
this week than any other time of the year. More people are going
to commit suicide this week than any other time of the year.
During the next two weeks, more people are going to lose family
members killed by drunk drivers than any other time of the year.
There will be parties and alcohol and drugs will be abundant, and
more wives and children will probably be abused this week because
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of them than any other time of the year.
You see for these reasons, the thought of Christmas is going
to bring up a lot of hurtful memories, a lot of pain, and a lot
of sadness. Some of you know what I’m talking about because you
had someone very close to you die or killed around Christmas
time. I can remember as a child, the joy I felt on Christmas
morning was shattered by the pain I felt Christmas night when my
parents returned home from the club, drugged with alcohol and
fighting accusing each other of all kinds of things. I thank God
that my parents have since came to the Lord and all that is in
the past. But for some of us, that same scene will be repeated
in our families this coming weekend.
This Christmas is going to be hard for some of us because it
will be the first one we spend without our mother, our grandmoth
er, our husband, our wife, our children, our brother, our sister
or our real good fried. The family get togethers that many of us
will have, are not all going to be pleasant. Old rivalries be
tween children who are now adults will flare up. Some of us will
have to be with those who sexually abused us. Some of us will
have to be with those who have used us, lied about us, and done
us wrong, and yet they will be there with a smile as though
nothing ever happened. Some of us know that once so and so in
our family picks up the bottle, its going to mean hell for every
body else around.
Some of us are going to go through undo tension because we
don’t have the money to get our children the things they wanted.
We hate to see the disappointment on the their faces because we
we would get it, but we now know that we can’t. Some of us
are going to be hurt because someone we love very much, is not
even going to take the time to have purchased us just a little
gift. My friends the way we celebrate Christmas, opens the door
for a lot of pain, hurt, rejection and loneliness to pour into
our lives. That hurt overshadows the gift of God, and somehow
some of us will just want the day to hurry up and be over.
God has a different view in mind when He gives us Christmas.
In our Scripture reading today it says in Isaiah 9:2 "The people
walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in
the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." When we are
hurting , and we are lonely, and we are disappointed, God wants
us to know that the darkness around us is not all there is. A
great light has come into the world. We may feel as though we