How can I find hope at Christmas?

There’s a dark side to Christmas. It’s not recorded in Matthew or Mark or Luke. John doesn’t cover it in his gospel account, but when John was in heaven, he saw it. And he recorded it for us in Revelation 12:1-5.

We don’t talk about that side of Christmas too often, but we should. We should because unless there is a cost there is little reason for appreciation. You appreciate that which comes with a cost.

When you realize the cost, you appreciate the sacrifice. And you have great reason to rejoice. And that celebration — like a touchdown in the middle of a football game — can spark hope and purpose for the future.

This podcast explains the end-zone dance done outside of Bethlehem by a host of heaven’s angels, giving us hope and purpose.

An Advent Sermon on Peace…

I read this week that the phrase, security blanket, was actually invented by Linus van Pelt. Linus’ sister, Lucy was always bothered by Linus’ attachment to that blanket. She tried to make Linus drop it. She stole it and hid it. Once she cut it up to make shapes for a flannel-graph. Another time she cut it into squares for Linus to use to clean his glasses. She once made a kite out of it and “accidentally” let go of it. Another time Lucy buried the blanket, causing a frantic Linus to dig up almost the entire neighborhood before Snoopy found it.

Why would she do that? Because she was the annoying big sister. Because she was Lucy.

There are a lot of Lucys in this world. In fact, it sometimes seems that the whole world is nothing but a mean old Lucy who tries to prevent us from having any kind of peace of mind.

Now the Bible doesn’t speak about security blankets, but it does speak of being secure. The Bible speaks about being safe — about peace.

That’s what this podcast is about today: Peace. If you’re looking for peace, give it a listen.

The Importance of Prophecy at Christmas — and in OUR Lives…

In Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Scrooge is an evil man, whose only love is himself and his money. When confronted by the outcomes of his evil life, past, present, and future Scrooge is repentant. He isn’t just sorry – he wants to change, to make amends. He tries to do so with the little time he has left, by investing in the Cratchit family. In a sense, he’s trying to redeem himself.

Even when I was a little kid, watching that in movie or cartoon form, the same thought occurred to me. Ebenezer, what makes you think that these last half-dozen or so years of your life can make up for the decades of evil you’ve done? It is impossible for you to redeem yourself.  That’s true of Ebenezer. And it’s true of you and me.

The Bible teaches us that Jesus is our Redeemer. He is the One who can pay for the evil we’ve done. It says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24)

While all of us know this deep inside, the Bible is what makes it crystal clear to us. As the prophecies concerning Christ’s advent in Bethlehem lit the way for those seeking him, so God’s word lights the way for us.

Please forgive the sound of my voice in this message. I could barely talk. ~Steve