Friday, December 16, 2011

Is There a Dark Side to Christmas?
Matthew 1:18-25
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.  But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

Most people when they think of this time of year think only of the beauty of it, surrounded by the  lovely trees with bright lights and decorations, colorful ornaments, beautiful candles, wreaths, snow scenes, warm fire places and a heart filled with joy. Some dream of a “White Christmas” and sing the songs that convey these feelings of joy and wonder. Christmas is the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” but we must look at Christmas and it’s true meaning: "You shall call His name Jesus for He shall save His people from their sin" (Matthew 1:21). The real beauty of Christmas is to understand the ugliness that it cures. 
First John 3:5 says, "And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin."  First John 4:14, "And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world." Look at 1 Timothy 1:15 where Paul says, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”  Do you think that there can be a dark side of Christmas? The true heart of Christmas is this, Christ came into the world to save sinners. 
Remember the night Jesus was born. Can you picture the stable, the smells, the sounds coming from the animals? See Joseph clear a small place in the hay to lay poor Mary down to give birth to the Christ Child. What a humble place of birth and yet, chosen by God as the birth place of JESUS. The sky explodes with angels singing of His birth but to whom were they singing? Humble shepherds heard their voices proclaiming this wondrous sight and came to see the new born King, lying in a manger. We could talk about a horrible man named Herod who because he feared the loss of his control and power massacred all the baby boys 2 years and younger in that region. Christmas does have some dark aspects that are not thought about during this time of the year but they are still there.
The Bible says Jesus Christ came into the world to save us from sin. That's the reason for His coming. Sin is the dark side of Christmas. Every shattered marriage, broken friendship, argument, disagreement, evil thought, evil word, evil deed, every good deed undone, good thought unthought, good word unsaid can be attributed to sin. That is why in Joshua 7:13 it is called the accursed thing.  It is compared in Scripture to the venom of snakes, the working of witchcraft, and the stench of a grave. So, you cannot look at Christmas and celebrate only the beauty of it, you must understand that the heart of it is the repulsiveness of sin. 
Thought: Why say all of this? Why make Christmas dark? Because the ugliness of Christmas brings us to the point of its real beauty. You see, the beauty of Christmas is that Christ came into the world to...what? sinners. That is what makes Christmas so beautiful. Who can understand the beauty of Christmas without the ugliness?  It isn't the cards and the trees and the lights and the presents and the sleigh rides and the snow scenes and the warm fires, the beauty of Christmas is that Christ came to cure the ugliness of sin through Jesus’ birth and His death on the cross. None of the things mentioned above are wrong, and we should enjoy every aspect of Christmas but remembering the reason why the Christ Child came brings to light the joy of the unspeakable gift He so freely gave.

  Merry Christmas  

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