Summary: Part 2 of series based on Dickens’ "A Christmas Carol"
Welcome to Bethany on this second Sunday of Advent as we continue to prepare for the coming of Christ. We have many activities to look forward to. Tonight the youth are inviting you to go Christmas Caroling.
8:30 - Maybe something like this might happen if you go along. SHOW FELLOWSHIP VIDEO CLIP
This Advent we are looking at Charles Dickens’s classic tale, A Christmas Carol, to learn from Scrooge about Christmas.
If you remember, Ebenezer Scrooge was an unhappy, miserly old man whose reaction to Christmas was “Bah! Humbug.” To him, Christmas was a scandal, because it was only “a time for finding yourself a year older and not an hour richer.”
In our look at Scrooge today, he begins a spiritual awakening.
1) The Ghost of Christmas Past reminds him of the joy he once knew at Christmas.
2) Scrooge is about to discover how his “Humbug” can be changed to “Hallelujah!”
SLIDE 3 A
But before we begin this journey, let me ask you a question. What is your attitude about joy?
This may sound like a silly question--I think all of us would rather be happy than sad. We would rather be up than down.
I’ll go a step further and say most of us prefer to be around those who are joyful. I have to admit I sometimes choose to be with people based on their joy quotient. Sometimes I even avoid people who are always down.
There are people that I know people who are just like Scrooge.
Their attitude is, I’ll get around to joy once I get all my work done. The trouble is that there’s always more work to be done, so they only have brief glimpses of joy in their lives. Their lives are more humbug than hallelujah.
b. But happiness and joy are not the same. What is your attitude about joy?
We know how to spell it but when you first look at the word without a closer look it’s easy to write off joy as something that’s just not possible for our lives.
SLIDE 3 B
We look at a verse like 1 Thessalonians 5:16 “Always be joyful.” We look at a verse like that and if you’ve had a particularly tough week, be honest, when you hear a verse like that doesn’t it bug you? Always be joyful? I had a tough week! I don’t want to always be joyful. I’m not sure I can always be joyful.
We sing “Joy to the World” at Christmas. To the world! That means everyone. That means everywhere. Is that really possible, joy in this world? There are a couple of things that keep us from feeling like that’s a possibility. Things that you and I face on a daily basis.
SLIDE 3 C
1. The bad that shouldn’t happen.
We all have to admit that a lot of the bad things that happen in our lives, we bring them on ourselves. But there are bad things that happen to us and in this world that just shouldn’t happen. We didn’t bring it on ourselves, no one deserved it, that person was innocent. Because of that we wonder, Can joy really happen in this world?
Alongside of that you put the second thing. Not only the bad that shouldn’t happen but...
SLIDE 3 D
2. The good that doesn’t happen.
The good things that we want to happen that don’t happen in our lives. The dream that we’ve had that doesn’t seem to be able to come true. The heart that we hope to change in someone else that never seems to change. The prayer that we pray that doesn’t seem to get answered, at least not the way we wanted it to get answered.
You look at these real life truths that we have to face everyday and you realize if joy is gong to work you can’t wait for perfect circumstances because we do not live in a world of perfect circumstances.
If joy is going to work it has to work in an imperfect, often ugly world. That’s what the message of Christmas is all about. God came to this often-ugly world and, in Jesus Christ, He told us joy can happen even here.
In A Christmas Carol Scrooge used to have joy, but he forgot how to choose it again. The Ghost of Christmas Past had to come shine light on Scrooge’s life by helping him remember things that he chose to forget.
You may have heard someone say before, joy is a choice it doesn’t just happen in our lives. It’s something that must be chosen in our lives. The question I’ve got is How? How do you choose it? It’s obviously not just automatic. Even those of you who have been believers for quite some time who come to church a lot realize that you don’t automatically become joyful because you read the Bible more or pray more or even come to church more.