Summary: May we have the Spirit of Christmas, which is Peace; the gladness of Christmas, which is hope; and the heart of Christmas, which is Love.
Sermon for 12/15/2002
Peace, Hope, and Love
Show the congregation the Christmas card from Marie Vencill.
A. Christmas cards.
B. We are sending out a Christmas letter.
Thesis: May we have the Spirit of Christmas, which is Peace; the gladness of Christmas, which is hope; and the heart of Christmas, which is Love.
A. Spirit of Christmas, Peace
1. Luke 2:8-14
Gregory Koukl- In the past few years I’ve had some difficulty getting into the spirit of Christmas. Now that I think about it, when I say the past few years I guess I mean the past 20 years or so. I guess my whole adult life I’ve struggled with this and I’ve wondered why. Maybe you have the same difficulty. Even mentioning the phrase "the spirit of Christmas" raises a few issues for me. It’s usually uttered in the context of criticizing the excesses of the holiday season. Christmas season used to start just after Thanksgiving in the good old days. Now it seems like Thanksgiving itself has been lost all together, swallowed up by an ever expanding Christmas commercial season that devours now almost a quarter of our calendar year. That’s pretty pathetic, in a way. People observe that and say, gee whatever happened to the true spirit of Christmas. Or they mourn the loss of the true meaning of Christmas. To talk about the true meaning of Christmas and not focus on Jesus, to talk about giving without talking about Jesus, to talk about loving without talking about Jesus, to talk about good will towards men and not talk about Jesus is to admire the aroma and ignore the meal. If I can turn a literary reference on its side a bit, it’s the clothes without the Emperor. In many ways even the more exalted ways of understanding Christmas as peace and goodwill and kindness and charity and love and giving and all of that are merely the clothes without the Emperor. What that does is reduce Christmas to packages. Beautifully wrapped packages, beautifully ribboned, but with nothing inside them
2. (Mat 10:34 NIV) "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
3. (John 14:27 NIV) Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
4. (John 16:33 NIV) "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
5. (Rom 5:1 NIV) Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,(Rom 5:2 NIV) through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
6. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day- In despair I bowed my head: “There is no peace on earth,” I said, “For hate is strong, and mocks the song Of peace on earth, goodwill to men. Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; the wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, goodwill to men.”