I’m Dreaming of a Right Christmas- Luke 2:10-14
Intro: I Know, we all sing about “Dreaming of A White Christmas.” Well, I don’t care a whole lot whether it snows at Christmas or not. I do enjoy making a snowman, having a snowball fight, and the beauty of snow as it covers the earth in blanket of white. Still, I’m Dreaming of a RIGHT Christmas! What would really make Christmas “Right” for all of us?
I. Joy In Jesus.
For a Christmas to be “Right” it must be centered in Jesus.
What has happened to us all? We have all gotten BUSY, BUSY, BUSY! We are busy with Parties at school, work, church, in the community, and with family. We are busy with Shopping. Now, I’m not a “scrooge” but why should we waste money when we are already in a financial bind, just because it’s “Christmas?” We are busy with Decorating, and numerous Activities and of course there are Toys, Toys, Toys. Most of us could sing about Christmas that “It’s the most Stressful time of the Year.”
Guess who gets left out the Most? JESUS
The world never has time for Jesus so Christmas is no exception. BUT Christians who usually take time for Jesus end up so busy with everything else that He is too often neglected. Prayer is neglected. The Bible is slighted. Church is omitted completely by some and others come but are so distracted by their busy- ness that they come and go like zombies.
A Right Christmas will be Full of Jesus and the Joy He brings.
Are you Sad because you don’t have enough money to spend on a bunch of gifts?
Are you Sad because can’t get what you really want?
Are you Sad because some one else is getting more than you are?
Are you Sad because you went ahead and spent money you don’t have, under the pressure of the season?
We all need to get our Priorities Straight! The Joy of Jesus is much more important than any physical, or material aspect of Christmas. It’s Jesus who was God’s Gift to Man. It’s Jesus who willingly came from heaven to earth, humbled himself to become a man, took upon himself the form of a servant, humbled himself to die, even to die the death of a cross in agony and shame and all so that he might bring SALVATION.
Is Christmas really the most Depressing time of the Year? Well, It’s certainly not depressing to celebrate the Joy of Jesus’ Birth and Life on earth. It’s only depressing when the Joy of Jesus is Left Out.
II. Grace in Giving.
I know. From what I’ve already said, I sound like a Scrooge or Grinch who doesn’t want to buy anyone a gift. However, that is not true. I really do enjoy the Gift Giving of Christmas. After all, we claim the Bible as the basis for gift giving at Christmas. We know about the Three Wise men who came bearing gifts for the Christ Child, and that was a definite sign of reverence and respect.
The Custom of giving gifts at Christmas developed slowly and gradually, for Christmas became a time to show love and appreciation to others by giving them a gift.
Look at progression:
The Wise men brought one gift each- TO Jesus.
The Custom grew and we Sang, “I’ll be home for Christmas, you can plan on me. Please have snow and mistletoe, and presents ON the tree...”
After awhile, presents ON the tree was not good enough because they had to be quite small to go ON the tree, so the words were changed to “presents UNDER the tree”
Actually, I’ve been working on a newer updated version that says, “please have snow and mistletoe, and presents like a SEA.”
Seriously, I think we need Grace in our Giving and our Giving needs some Guidelines.
1) Buy what they need.
2) Buy what you can afford.
3) Give to someone who is less fortunate than you.
4) Give to Christian causes in Christ’s honor.
5) Don’t Rob God of your tithes in December to pay for gifts.
Do God’s Principles of Financial Responsibility take a vacation in December? A Right Christmas will have Joy in Jesus and Grace in Giving.
III. Fellowship with Family & Friends.
One of the greatest joys of the Christmas season is the gathering of family and friends to spend some Time together. America has seen a tragic breakdown in the Family Unit. It has been broken by Unfaithfulness, Abuse, Adultery, Pornography, Divorce, Desertion and Neglect. Families have been divided by Bitterness & Unforgiveness, Greed, Jealousy, and even Hatred. We need to cultivate our Family Relationships: Husbands- Wives; Parents- Children; Grand Parents; Uncles, Aunts, & Cousins; Brothers & Sisters; Nephews & Nieces.
We need to cultivate our relationships with our friends.
Why do people grow apart? Usually we grow apart through petty disagreements and frictions; sometimes because of misunderstandings; and too often because of Jealousy. We need to cultivate our friendships and our relationships with our Brothers and Sisters in the Lord. Any life activities that steal important family, friend, and spiritual family time need to be declined. Events that steal important family, friend, spiritual family time need to be refused.
I’m sure you have read or heard the Dr. Seuss story of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. The Grinch hated Christmas and he especially hated the way the Who’s down in Whoville celebrated it. He decided to “steal” Christmas. He went into the town at night. He stole all the decorations, all the presents, all the food from the houses and left only crumbs even too small for the who mouses. He loaded it all up on his sled and took it away. While he climbed the mountain to his house, he rejoiced in his evil deed and couldn’t wait to hear all the Who’s down in Who ville start to BOO HOO when they found out what had happened. He thought he heard a sound so he stopped to listen to hear them cry, but instead of crying they were singing. They were celebrating Christmas without trees and lights; without presents; without the big turkey or ham. Well, the Grinch was puzzled and as he pondered this amazing turn of events, his heart was touched by their joyful singing. They were celebrating in spite of the loss of all their Christmas trappings and as he listened to them sing, his heart grew three sizes and he returned all of their Christmas stuff and joined in the celebration.
NOW- Think about this: How would your Christmas celebration be if you had no TREE, no PRESENTS, no BIG HAM in the oven? Would you be complaining, having a Pity Party, Depressed, saying “this is not fair; I’ve been mistreated by God and everyone else?”
I trust that you and I will have a Right Christmas! A Christmas filled with Joy In Jesus. A Christmas with Grace in our Giving. A Christmas full of Fellowship with Family and Friends.
“I’m Dreaming of a Right Christmas.”
Bro. Dwain Galiher
Pastor of JHPC