Message: Christmas in the heart of man

12.11.11: Bethel Baptist Church

Intro: Twas the night that before ugly

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the land, not a creature was stopping cause they still had little in hand.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,In hopes that a better pair would show up right there.
The children were locked down real tight in their rooms because crime in the neighborhood was responsible for gloom.
And mamma in her ‘blanket" and I wrapped up in sheets, were trying to survive yet another night with no heat.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow! Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should show up,but a car on its top and it’s occupants ripped up
With a little old driver, so tired and useless, I knew in a moment that he must be homeless.
More rapid than eagles his kids out they came, and he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name! " Help Cristen, help Billy, and I can’t see tristen, and oh yea i remember, your sister is missin.
I wished about then that help would arrive, if only a Santa could timely drop by. So what did i hear on the roof that brought fright, but the weight of the snow dropping woe in my plight.
I’m long overdue for a miracle I thought, cause life is so hard and hope can’t be bought.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the lawn,the singing and laughter that accompanies new dawn.
They wore no red clothes, and they were all fit and trim, but they were smiling and singing and asking to come in.
Now what could they do to eliminate my plight,
It’s not like they owned a red suit, tiny reindeer, or were given to flight.
But they did help indeed, and they offered to pray, that I might find the strength to confront the new day.
They knew some who could hammer and others who could calk, and they said that the needs that I faced were no reason to be distraught.
They offered their help to the hurt on the lawn, and made sure they were warm, and indeed now were calm.
What more might they do for people in need, after all, my list is just longer, this year, indeed.
But before they got up to be on their way, they handed us money, then offered to pray. You mean, really, with this I have nothing to do. No lecture, no guilt and this grace … Free from you?
You know,what it is that makes Christmas so hard? I want to believe but it’s the stuff on the yard…
Is there a god for the times of such peril? If only, if only He might might appear less sterile.
But what if for all the days in between, if Christmas to Christmas, Christ might be seen.
For So, did he come and enter the world, as Savior, as friend and redeemer foretold. Having entered the world, only to die a sure death, He now stands ready to help us regain our dead breath.
For sure life just happens and sometimes it’s dread, now what if the church might be found faithful, just as he said.
The story That came to me throughout my youth, talked of Santa and sleighs and deeds with no proof.
Now I have no hatred toward Santa or elves,
I now only realize they put no food on the shelves.
I now can see that Jesus is the hope among men,
Giving life, help and answers to countless times ten.
And I heard our earnest stranger exclaim as the carpoolers rose up to leave,
Merry Christmas to all,and on Christ Jesus, I believe.

Biblical text: Is.9:6…

Big idea: Christmas in the heart of man: Looking for a real St. Nick

Christmas in the year 2011 in many ways not that far removed from the circumstances confronting the people of Galilee struggling to survive under the Roman boot and within the realm of the governing class of Herods.
In their day, government neither served the people or a higher moral law, but the growing passions of Caesar.
In their economy, poverty was not only possible but likely,
In their family setting…divorce and dis function were the rule of the day
In their moral law, life was cheap, abortion a real possibly, and care for the aged, at best a maybe
In their culture, dreams were dying, hope was a distant dream, and deliverance was given over to despair…

The world that Jesus entered was no less complicated than our own. The system of Judaism and heathenism combined to create a confusing, if not cynical existence.

As God’s incarnate Son, and the world’s most historically significant figure, His existence is critical to the externality of man and his relationship to everything tangible in the universe . The history of mankind before his birth must be seen as a preparation for his coming and the period afterward, the progress toward his kingdom.

Phillip Schaff writes,

"This process of preparation for redemption in the history of the world, the groping of heathenism, after the unknown God and inward peace, and the legal struggle and comforting hope of Judaism, repeat themselves in every individual believer; for man is made for Christ, and his heart is restless, till it rests in Christ." (pg. 59)

History is the record of the progress of the godly and the pagan– those who followed hard after God and those who consumed their interests on the unknown gods after every likeness of man and beast. The paganism of the Greeks and Romans were merely attempts to deify men and myth both of which left the masses weary of life and bereft of hope. What the Greeks cultivated in culture, language and art, the Romans conquered, assimilated, sought to export.
America’s fascination with its role as the world’s policeman, was never as strong as the belief of Rome that it was destined to rule the world. With their conquests came organization, political stability, and freedom of movement throughout the empire. But as with most regimes built upon the backs of others and the obsession with self, it was destined to demise

Schaff notes, pg. 82-83

Transition: Into this world entered Jesus, the Lord of Glory:

I’m left with Henry Barraclough’s images left spilled across the page of his great hymn,
"Out of the Ivory Palaces, into a world of woe,
Only His great eternal love, made my savior go.

Out of the ivory palaces, into A world of oppression and fear,
Out of the intimate closeness with God, came Jesus, for us to be dear.

Transition: My Bible is open to Isaiah 9

As the people of God watched the Assyrians march over their chosen land: no less than 7 characteristics:

  1. A people consumed by the occult :8:19
  2. A hunger that ravages the bellies
  3. A disgust for God that Ravages their soul,
  4. Gloom overwhelming the land
  5. Oppression overwhelming the soul
  6. A people who walk in darkness
  7. Where death is a refuge from living.

Transition: The difference that Christ makes

Though future, it is as good as certain.
In place of death there is life: (Jesus is the light of men)
In place of despair, there will be joy (3)
In place of weakness, there will be strength
In the place of oppression, there will be freedom: ( Putin: article: World magazine)

Transition: How shall this then be possible?

It’s the child, who will be king– the Royal Son of David, with right to the Davidic throne: Ps. 2:9; Rev.2:27; 19:15

When the world of Woe is Swallowed up by Wonderful, then…
Wonderful, Counselor… Ahaz, This Jesus and supernatural wisdom
Mighty God: powerful warrior to accomplish military exploits
Everlasting Father: a Father to his people, eternally
Prince of Peace: the perpetual peace: Micah 4:3

Transition: which leads me back to Henry B.

My life had also its sorrows sore; for aloes had a part;
And when I think of the cross He bore, my eyes with tear drops start.

In garments glorious, He will come, to open wide the door,
And I shall enter my heavenly home, to dwell forever more.

Conclusion: the family of murdered mother/2 daughters

Interviewed the sister and the parents of this woman and her two teenage girls: How do you recover, Lester Holt asked?
We are people of faith the pastor said, and we believe that they are it’s Jesus,we’ll see them again, and it is with that strength we go on…

Mark J.Congrove616.546.0292

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