Summary: I preached this sermon last Sunday, December 13th, 2015, at our Christmas Carol Service. It is shown here as it was presented. The sermon talks about the Light of Jesus that brings hope for more than a season.
INTRODUCTION – Good evening friends, it’s so nice to have you at our Christmas production 2015, “Christmas Hope – for more than a season”. I want to speak tonight about a hope that lasts beyond a season. One of our musicians told me yesterday that santa seems to be in a hopeless situation this year. Apparently, he had opened a Facebook page at the beginning of this year, and he has been complaining that while he received almost no friend requests till November, that as soon as December arrived, millions of people have been sending him friend requests!!
Around 15 years ago, a popular singer named Shaggy recorded a song called 'Hope', in which he talks about how his family lived in a one-room shack, and how his mother worked hard to give her children a life and an education. Besides that, she also gave them some sound advice which went something like this.
PLAY A FLASH OF THE CHORUS OF ‘HOPE’ BY SHAGGY – She said,,
Son there’ll be times when the tides are high
The boat may be rocky, you can cry, just never give up
And its hope that keeps me holding on
And this hope that makes me carry on
‘Hope’ is defined as ‘an optimistic attitude, based on an expectation of positive outcomes’, or something close to that.
Today, what are your hopes for Christmas 2015? Is it to do with your job, your career, your future or your family? Maybe some of you were thinking ‘I hope it’s worth my time coming for this program’? Maybe some of you are saying right now ‘I hope this preacher will say something sensible and not bore me?!!!’ Life can only give us so much hope, but today you can find hope for more than a season.
A few minutes ago you heard Shamil Perera (one of our worship team musicians) share how he gave up on religion and church. He dropped out of church and moved away from God. This took him on the pathway to experimenting with drugs, alcohol and bad company. However, after the death of a close friend and after being betrayed by his best friend, God began to open his heart once again. On an invitation, with cynicism in his heart, Shamil attended a small group where he found many young people who were very sincere and genuine in their faith. As a result, he invited Jesus into his heart. He has found meaning to life once again and hope for more than a season. Today, like the song he sang which described his earlier life, called ‘Desperado’, there may be many desperate people here facing desperate situations.
PROPOSITION – The Light of Christmas gives hope for more than a season.
In the passage in Isaiah 9, it talks about the Light that came to the people of Israel, through the Lord Jesus Christ. The passage itself has the following depressing words; ‘gloom’ (vs 1), ‘distress’ (vs 1), ‘humbled’ (vs 1), ‘darkness’ (vs 2) and ‘the shadow of death’ (vs 2). Into this depressing situation a great Light dawned (vs 2)! This scripture, which was a prophecy regarding the Messiah, was repeated in Matthew chapter 4, when Jesus began His public ministry.Tonight, I would like to share 3 thoughts about what the Light did.
1. THE LIGHT BANISHED THE DARKNESS (VS 1-2)
Vs 1-2 says, ‘there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress’ and that ‘the people walking in darkness have seen a great Light’. A pastor friend of mine reminded me today that darkness comes about in the absence of light, and that even one little matchstick can bring light to a very dark room.
Let me put a small riddle to you. If you were in a very dark room and had a lantern, a lamp and a candle, but only 1 matchstick, which would you light first? Would it be the lantern? Maybe it would be the candle? (Pause). Actually, what you would have to light first would be the matchstick!! It takes an outside source of light to light up the darkness, and that’s exactly what Jesus did when He came at Christmas time. Isaiah says, ‘You have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of the oppressor’ (vs 4). In vs 6, Isaiah talks about a child who is to be born as the ‘Prince of Peace’ and who is also called 'Mighty God'.
If you look at the history of the people of Zebulun and Naphtali, you will find that they went through the darkness of a severe betrayal (1 Kings 15:16-21), deportation under the Assyrians (2 Kings 15:29-30) and becoming a despised people.
Today, maybe darkness has invaded your life. It could be because of a lost job, a lost loved one, lost health or other disturbing family situations. Isn’t it amazing how our problems seem to look that much more horrible in the dark, when we knock the lights off in our room? Well, if so, let the Light of Jesus shine into your life today. Someone said, “Jesus Christ is the only Light that knows no power failure”! The Apostle John made an astounding statement in John 1:5 which says, “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can NEVER extinguish it”. (NLT)