Sermons

Summary: What has happened to the Joy of Christmas? Why do so many believers struggle to survive the holidays? Is Jesus the reason for the stress of the season?

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Dakota Community Church

December 12, 2010

Overtaken by Joy

Isaiah 35:1-10

1 The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God.

3 Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; 4 say to those with fearful hearts,

“Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”

5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6 Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. 7 The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. 8 And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. 9 No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and those the LORD has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

At Christmas many people are depressed.

The first Monday after the holiday is known as “divorce day”

From the Telegraph London 2008:

January 7 is ’D-Day’ - the critical day of the year when feuding couples are most likely to start divorce proceedings. Judith Woods investigates

If you’re thinking of calling your solicitor on Monday, say for some routine conveyance work, forget it. The phone will be engaged. All day, probably. Why? Because Monday is officially known among lawyers as D-Day - divorce day.

This year, D-Day falls on January 7. In 2007, it was on the 8th, but the date is less important than the fact it is the start of the first full working week after New Year, and the day when warring spouses are most likely to instigate divorce proceedings against one another.

For some it is a lonely time, others endure it straining under financial stress.

Is the Church experience disconnected from your reality?

Should the Church change or should you and I?

Why does the believer have joy?

1. There is life and hope in Christ

Isaiah 35:10

They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Isaiah 9:1-2

1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan— 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.

The Christmas season, the weeks and days leading up to our celebration of the birth of Jesus are traditionally intended to be a time of waiting, a time of anticipation and longing.

We recognize that like those people living “along the Jordan”, we live in a world of people who are walking in darkness, living under the shadow of death.

We have seen the light, those of us who are in Christ, but we are at times made even more aware of the darkness by that glimpse of light. Like when someone suddenly turns on a flashlight and then as we look away we see even less than before.

We know how desperately the light is needed, leading up to Christmas, the birth of Christ, we reflect on our need of Him, on the need – the great need - of our world.

Our modern gift exchange is meant to add an additional sense of anticipation, a reminder of the ultimate gift – unto us a Son is given.

Why is this so hard for us?

Why does this season become something to get through, rather than a joyous celebration?

We have managed to keep ourselves distracted in the darkness.

We have found artificial lights to temporarily convince us that it really isn’t too dark.

We believe the lie that there is life and hope in something other than Him.

Exodus 20:1-4

1 And God spoke all these words:

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