Summary: A look at another side of Jesus. The side of a joyful, personable man that would take time out of his life to attend a wedding feast.
(Significant inspiration and segments of this sermon taken from Max Lucado’s writings on this passage.)
There was a woman who goes to the post office to buy stamps for her Christmas cards. She says to the clerk, "May I have 50 Christmas stamps?"
The clerk says, "What denomination?"
The woman says, "Has it really come to this? Okay, give me 6 Catholic, 12 Presbyterian, 10 Lutheran and 22 Baptists."
Well, it doesn’t matter what denomination you are or aren’t. Today we gather together as family, labels aside to experience Christmas. Which ought to be more than just gifts, and for some of Grandma Ruby’s family, they had to learn that the hard way.
You see, Grandma Ruby found buying presents for family and friends a bit much at Christmas now that she was in her 90’s, so this time she wrote out checks for all of them to put in their Christmas cards. In each card she carefully wrote, "Buy your own present" and then sent them off.
After the Christmas festivities were over, she found the checks under a pile of papers on her desk. So everyone on her gift list had received a beautiful Christmas card from her with "Buy your own present" written inside -- without a check!
Another grandma Christmas story is told of the parent who finally decreed that she was no longer going to remind her children of their thank-you note duties. As a result their grandmother never received acknowledgments of the generous checks she had given them. The next year things were different, however.
"The children came over in person to thank me," the grandparent told a friend triumphantly.
"How wonderful!" the friend exclaimed. "What do you think caused the change in behavior?"
"Oh, that’s easy," the grandmother replied. "This year I didn’t sign the checks."
People can get a bit ornery as the season drains them of their enthusiasm and joy. In fact, by the day before Christmas, after so many lights, so many carols, and so many lines, we all might need a Scrooge test. So here you go. . .
You just might be a Scrooge . . .if you turn on the lawn sprinklers on Christmas Eve to keep carolers away.
If you buy all of your Christmas gifts at a store that also sells gas. . . you might be a Scrooge. Or maybe just from Arkansas.
If your best Christmas tradition involves a fire and reindeer meat. . . you just might be a Scrooge.
If your favorite pastime is putting defective bulbs in your neighbors’ string of Christmas lights . . . you just might be a Scrooge.
Finally, if your only holiday decoration is a rotting pumpkin. . . you just might be a Scrooge.
And if you have a hard time laughing in church on Christmas Eve day. . .you might be a scrooge.
If you are following the unveiling of our banners, you can see that today’s Advent theme is joy! This is a season to express, experience, and enjoy the celebration of joy. And were Jesus here today, I don’t believe this would be strictly a solemn service of darkened lights, candles, and stiff bodies with stiff faces. I think He would be looking for a party. A celebration. A place experiencing the sights and sounds of joy.