Summary: This Advent sermon uses some of the lights of the Christmas Season as illustrations to teach us how to get the most out of this Advent/Christmas.
Are you afraid of the dark? When I was a child I used to be afraid. My active imagination caused me to visualize all types of dreadful things lurking in the dark along the path to the out house, or next to my bed in the night. When we would come home at night, I would let my Father or Mother go into the empty house first to light a kerosene lamp or, when we got electricity and indoor plumbing, to click on an electric light before I would enter.
I remember lingering too long at the baseball field one evening and having to run, not walk, about a half of a mile home, through dark fields and brush: Perhaps my personal best time at that distance. Before I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I used to spend a lot of time laying in my dark bedroom thinking about the Devil whom I hated, but continued to serve. When I had reached the age of accountability I was aware that many of my "deeds were evil…"(v. 19) and that since I refused to be "born again"(v. 3) that I would not "enter the kingdom of God…"(v. 5)
What a peace Jesus gave me the night I gave him control of my life. I could close my eyes and know that "if I should die before I wake(awakened), I know(knew) the Lord my soul will(would) take." I had peace. Yes, I still am suspicious of dark shadows. I do like to sleep in the dark; but I like the small red light on the alarm clock to remind me of where I am when I awaken.(Ever wake up in a strange, dark room and forget where you were?) I no longer fear death, for I am walking in the light of Christ’s love.(1 John 1:7) He gives me fellowship and courage, even in the darkest trials.
Jesus brought light "into the world…"(v.7) In the lonely fields of Bethlehem, that first Christmas, "the glory of the Lord shone around"(Luke 2:9) the angels as they relayed "good news of great joy…for all the people."(Luke 2:10) The Savior, the Christ, the Lord, the Messiah had been born. The light of the Star of Bethlehem also signaled to all who would look and learn that the King of the Jews had been born.
I especially enjoy the lights of Christmas/Advent. On this first Sunday morning of Advent I would like for us to look at five or six of those lights. 1. The Advent Wreath’ s Candle’s Light. 2. Furnace Lights. 3. Cook Stove Lights. 4. Decorative Christmas Lights. 5. Traffic Lights. Conclusion. Holiday House Fire Lights.
I. THE ADVENT WREATH’S CANDLE’S LIGHT.
These candle’s lights remind us of Jesus who bought light to this sinful world. They invite us to prepare for and to celebrate this Advent Season. They remind us that Christmas is a religious holiday for those who have seen and followed the Light. Each Sunday as we light the candles, we grow with anticipation for the joys of Christmas. Carols. Special worship services. Thoughts of kind deeds we can do for those less fortunate than us, or of special things we plan to do for those whom we love. Prayers for the ones that we love, as well as for those who go through the Christmas motions, but have never met the Savior. The center candle’s light reminds us that Jesus should always be central in our celebration and in all of life.
They remind us of our need to be lights to the world. "This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine… Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine…till Jesus Comes…" As Christians we love Christmas, but we long for and look for the Second Advent/Coming of Jesus Christ. For centuries sermons have taught of the suddenness of his Second Coming. Look at the signs of the times. Look at Israel. Are we living in the "Last Days?" Christmas would be an appropriate time for him to return… Are you ready?
II. THE LIGHT OF FURNACES.
"The weather outside is frightful, the fire inside is delightful… Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow." As Americans, we are so blessed to have gas, oil, electric furnaces. Many of us also have fireplaces and wood burning stoves to supplement our other sources of heat or for aesthetic reasons. Some countries enjoy the "Yule Log" tradition. I love to turn the TV to the station that displays a fire in a fireplace while broadcasting Christmas carols.
The luxuries that we enjoy are only dreamed of in many of the world’s countries. Christmas should be a time of Thanksgiving. Yes, thanksgiving that we have heard the gospel. That early American colonists came to America to worship God. That our land was founded on Christian principles: No matter what the historic revisionists say. I am thankful for the Continental Army; many who had only rags for shoes, persevering in the snow covered fields of Valley Forge, PA to risk their lives for freedom. I have read the reports of the men noting their General Washington kneeling in the snow and praying to his and our God to give him victory.(Artists have painted pictures of this event.)