Summary: This sermon incorporates a story of a family that stopped celebrating Christmas to emphasize our need to participate joyfully in the Christmas season.
Restoring the Joy of Christmas
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.
This world can be a place of darkness.
Romans 1;21 “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools…”
There is Voluntary Darkness
1. It is self-inflicted.
2. It is a self-pity party.
3. There is no purpose to and no plan for it.
4. It is a waste of strength, time and effort.
There’s a cure for Voluntary Darkness
1. Admit it.
Don’t try to cover it up! And don’t blame God!
2. Leave self behind.
Satan loves the tool of self-pity
Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
3. Realign your focus.
Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;”
4. Get up and walk away when you are ready to face the responsibility.
Back in the days before electricity,
a penny-pinching old farmer was scolding his hired hand
for carrying a lighted lantern
when he went to call on his girlfriend.
“Why,” he exclaimed, “when I went a-courtin’
I never carried one of them things,
I always went in the dark.”
“Yes,” the hired man said wryly,”