A Christmas where God offers a warning
Christmas Dreams - “I am dreaming of this kind of Christmas!”
A Christmas where God offers a warning!
The three kings traveled a very long way to see Jesus. I’m not sure how far you traveled to be here tonight, but I am so glad you came. I pray too that you see Jesus. Did you pick up your cookie and hot chocolate as you came into the Family Life Center? If you did you’ll notice that we do not have warning labels informing you of the obvious. Like hot chocolate is hot! Sometimes I think we should let common sense prevail. Some warnings are simply unnecessary while others are vital. How many of you have seen the movie The Christmas Story? (FRAGILE) One of my favorite parts of that movie besides the Bumpas’ dogs eating the turkey right off the table is when Flick receives a “triple dog dare” to stick his wet tongue on a frozen metal flag pole. Not a good idea. Apparently a 10 year boy from Boise, Idaho did not see that movie because that’s exactly what he did! The temptation was too great - an 8 foot tall metal chain link fence. A woman driving by saw the poor kid “STUCK THERE” and called 911. Boise Fire Captain Bill Tinsley said, “I’ve been doing this 20-some years and this is the first tongue-frozen-to-the pole call I’ve had.” Firefighters brought a glass of warm water and poured it on the pole and his tongue came unstuck almost immediately. After he was determined to be okay, firefighters let him walk to school.[i] Just a little warning here young people – but keep your tongues away from frozen metal poles! Now a warning is only as good as the one making it and the one receiving it. Have you ever heard of a Canadian band named the Sons of Maxwell? If you have, I’m shocked! The sons of Maxwell are actually Don & Dave Arnold! “On March 31, 2008, the band was flying from Halifax to Omaha, Nebraska on United Airlines while on tour. While waiting to take off from O'Hare passengers noticed that baggage handlers were carelessly tossing guitars. Dave notified flight attendants and when the band arrived in Omaha, he discovered his $3,500 Taylor guitar had been substantially damaged.[ii]
After months of contacting the company and being pushed from person to person, each saying it was not their problem, Carroll told United he would write three songs and produce videos for each about how poorly he was treated. And their response to him was. “Well, good luck with that!” This is what Dave came up with. (Christmas Eve video clip)
That song first played on www.youtube.com on July 6, 2009 and by December it had received 6 million hits. This video has become a public relations nightmare for United and soon after its release United contacted Dave Carroll hoping to resolve the matter soon. Again – a warning is only as good as the one giving it and the one receiving it! Since December 6 our church has been looking at six dreams found in the New Testament. We’ve called this Christmas Dreams. Pilate’s wife had dream #6 in Matthew 27. One belongs to the Magi in Matthew 2 while Joseph received four of the 6 dreams in Matthew chapters 1 & 2. Typically, we give out Bibles every Sunday and if you do not own a Bible as you leave consider this our gift to you this Christmas.
Former U.S. Senator Don Nickles said, “The present tax code is about 10 times longer than the Bible, a lot more complicated and unlike the Bible, contains no good news.”
Man, do I ever have good news for you tonight! God spoke to Joseph and he’ll speak to you too! Here’s what God’s word has said, “My dreams are better than your dreams!” I don’t know what your dreams are for this Christmas! Maybe it’s to be with certain people. Maybe there’s a certain gift. I hear the Zhu Zhu Hamster is all the rage this year! “I chatter, scatter, scoot n’ scurry like a real hamster.” As long as it doesn’t poop like a real hamster – I’m good! Maybe your dream is for Christmas day to be done and over with! I’m so sorry your heart hurts like that. But know this - God’s dream for your life is better than your dream for your life. Joseph did not know that until an angel told him. Joseph receives dreams 3 & 4 starting at Matthew 2:19. (Read 19-23)
This time Joseph receives a warning. This warning is not as stern as the dream he received in verse 13, but that’s because the threat is over. Herod the Great who wanted Jesus dead IS dead and Joseph has no reason to fear Herod’s son, Archelaus! Joseph is told to go back home to the land of Israel – go back home to Nazareth!
I am so tempted right now to just focus on sweet stuff like sugar plums and fruit cake, but I can’t. God has a warning for us all tonight. He warned Joseph. He’ll also warn us! The question is – “will we listen?” Now what’s the warning? Good isn’t good enough! And ironically isn’t that the focus right now. “Be good for goodness sake!” We want to be good. But we just can’t pull it off for the long haul. We’re good for awhile only to fall victim to a bad thought or a bad urge! I mean we say, “Little Johnny has been good this year!” Truth is little Johnny, Greg, Susan or Bill have not been real good this year. Actually we’ve been more naughty than nice but parents give them gifts anyway – why – it’s called grace! You can’t fathom not giving your kids gifts and God feels the same way. So he gave us the ultimate gift – his SON! God gives us more than we deserve! Maybe you’re a little miffed with me right now! “I’m good!” Hmmm, let me think about that! NO, you’re not! W often compare ourselves we others hoping to look better. You and I could compare ourselves with Tiger Woods. Not his golf game – just his personal life. “I’m good. He’s bad!” Don’t kid yourself. There’s no one in this room who’d look good if we made public – broadcasted all our secret thoughts and sins!
That’s why God sent Jesus. The angel said in Matthew 1:21: She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
(Light candle) 6:00PM - In just a few moments a little boy named Jordan Haley is going to be baptized. Why? Because good isn’t good enough. When we receive Christ we are forgiven of our sins! Jordan will now have two birthdays. One physical and one spiritual. That’s what we need. Someone to light the way. Not an educator, lawyer, pastor or musician. We need a Savior! Why, because good isn’t good enough! Christmas is all about the birth of a very special child. I have NEVER CELEBRATED A BIRTHDAY without lighting candles. You should have a candle near you. Let’s light our candles and in honor of Jesus the Christ child – let’s sing Happy Birthday! (then move into Silent Night) Just like Joseph. Do not ignore God’s warning. Go back home or maybe come home for the first time.
[i] Columbus Dispatch, Double Takes, Lad learns cold facts of tongue, metal pole