Summary: Christmas is not a joyful time for everyone. If you have lost a loved one, or had some other tragedy, will you still celebrate Christmas?

Will you celebrate Christmas?

Tis the season to be jolly

Medical Journal 18 Dec 2005:

“This is a period of frenetic activity, a time when people are trying to juggle work, an increase in social obligations, shopping, decorating, wrapping, entertaining and staying on budget. All this leads to a rise in both physical and emotional stress.”

This is also a time of reflection, as the year nears its end. A time when others look back and see the losses they incurred ? loss of a loved one through death, divorce or separation, loss of a job, or even loss of familiar social environment (as in having moved away from home).

"The holidays also bring about unrealistic conceptualizations of the ideal family, evoking feelings that may heighten the tension or conflicts between family members" explains MUHC psychologist, Dr. Michael Spevack. "Over eating and over drinking combined with a decreased amount of sleep is also a formula for extreme emotional swings - feelings of elation followed twelve hours later by a transient drop in mood," explains Spevack.

Turn to the Psalms:

Most quoted OT book in the NT.

Where are the Psalms found? … Exodus; Judges; 1 Samuel; Job (3)

Luther: In the Psalms we look into the heart of every saint

Calvin: In the Psalms we look into a mirror and see our own heart

Every Psalm seems to have my name and address on it.

As we identify with the emotions in this Psalm I want you to notice how joy can be restored.

If you don’t need it for yourself, you may be able to help someone else.

Ps 126 1 A song of ascents. When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. 2 Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” 3 The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. 4 Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negev. 5 Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. 6 He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.

1. Why they were happy

a. Ezr 1:1-4 1 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing: 2 “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: “‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. 3 Anyone of his people among you—may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the LORD, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem. 4 And the people of any place where survivors may now be living are to provide him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.’”

b. When the Romans had vanquished Philip, king of Macedon, they restored liberty to the Grecian cities by proclamation. It was done at the time of the Isthmian games, and by the crier, who went into the circus to proclaim them; none but the Roman general T. Quintius knowing what was to be done. Multitudes from all Greece were there assembled; and the tidings produced nearly the same effect upon them, . When the Romans had sat down to behold the games, the herald with his trumpet went into the arena according to custom, to proclaim the several games. Silence being obtained, he solemnly pronounced the following words: -

“The Roman Senate, and T. Quintius the general, having vanquished king Philip and the Macedonians, do ordain that the Corinthians, Phocensians, all the Locrensians, the island of EubOea, the Magnesians, Thessalians, Perrhaebians, Acheans, and Phthiotians, shall be free, be delivered from all taxes, and live according to their own laws.”

This proclamation of the herald being heard, there was such joy, that the people in general could not comprehend it. Scarcely could any person believe what he had heard. They gazed on each other, wondering as if it had been some illusion, similar to a dream; and although all were interested in what was spoken, none could trust his own ears, but inquired each from him who stood next to him what it was that was proclaimed. The herald was again called, as each expressed the strongest desire not only to hear, but see the messenger of his own liberty: the herald, therefore, repeated the proclamation. When by this repetition the glad tidings were confirmed, there arose such a shout, accompanied with repeated clapping of hands, as plainly showed that of all good things none is so dear to the multitude as Liberty.

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