Summary: This sermon incorporates a story of a family that stopped celebrating Christmas to emphasize our need to participate joyfully in the Christmas season.

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Restoring the Joy of Christmas

Isaiah 9:1-7

1 Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed,

As when at first He lightly esteemed

The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,

And afterward more heavily oppressed her,

By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,

In Galilee of the Gentiles.

2The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;

Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,

Upon them a light has shined.

3You have multiplied the nation And increased its joy;

They rejoice before You according to the joy of harvest,

As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.

4For You have broken the yoke of his burden and the staff of his shoulder,

The rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.

5For every warrior’s sandal from the noisy battle,

And garments rolled in blood,

Will be used for burning and fuel of fire.

6For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given;

And the government will be upon His shoulder.

And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7Of the increase of His government and peace

There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,

To order it and establish it with judgment and justice

From that time forward, even forever.

The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace and joy!

It’s a time of celebration!

But that’s not true for everyone!

For some people, Christmas brings back painful memories!

I have a story that illustrates that fact!

It was Christmas Eve in 2003 and from all indications; it wouldn’t be any different from the past 12 Christmases for George Leads. On Christmas Eve in 1991 as George and his wife, Carol, were putting up the Christmas tree there was a knock at their front door. It was a representative from the Army who had come to inform George and Carol that their son, John, had been killed in Iraq. Not only had George and Carol’s Christmas spirit been quashed that Christmas, but for the next 12 years there had been no celebrating Christmas. The darkness of their grief was just too much! No bright lights! No Christmas tree! No Christmas gifts! For 12 years, Christmases had come and gone just like any other days of the year for George and Carol. The leads family was mad at God!

As Christmas Day in 2003 approached, George and Carol’s 22-year old daughter Jeanie was home from college. However, Jeanie had grown accustomed to the absence of Christmas celebrations before she went off to school and this year she also was in no mood to celebrate. She had come home for a doctor’s exam because she had detected a lump in one of her breasts. A biopsy had been performed and the results would not be known until the day after Christmas. How could Jeanie be in the Christmas spirit? She was convinced that she had breast cancer. Even though George and Carol tried hard to convince their daughter that she shouldn’t worry, Jeanie couldn’t help feeling depressed. As she gently lifted the bandage to take a closer look at the incision on her breast, tears trickled down her cheek.

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