Home > Sermons
Col 3:1 - 17
God shows his goodness to people so that they can rejoice. Christmas is a time of celebration. The Bah Humbug kind of person says, “ What’s the big deal.” The big deal is that everyone can have freedom, joy and peace because of what Jesus did by coming into this world as a babe and dying as a man to become our Saviour. The message of the angels to the shepherds was “we bring you glad tidings of great joy which shall be for all peoples.” This is certainly an event to rejoice about and celebrate with others. Tonight as the children present their gifts to God and us we will be celebrating.
Many of us have already celebrated with the Church banquet or company Christmas parties and we are planning on doing some more partying and enjoying the reason for this wonderful season with family or friends.
Over the next couple weeks, we are most likely going to find ourselves at family gatherings. Even if you live at a distance from your extended family, this is the month when (unlike any other time of the year) you find yourself in family like settings. Unfortunately for some being with family is not always a welcomed event. Some of these invitations we probably wish we would not have to accept but our inner longing to be emotionally intimate and relationally connected drives us to keep accepting invitations we rather would decline.
In fact I would like to do a little quiz with you. Get out your paper and pen and get ready to write. (I heard that Groan.) Think of 5 people that you would love to spend the Christmas holiday celebrations with. Why do you want to spend time with them? Will spending time with them actually help you grow spiritually during this season? Will you be helping others grow in their understanding of Jesus? Now think of 3 people that you want to avoid during the holiday season. What is it about these people that make you uncomfortable? Is there resentment? Bitterness? Anger? Unresolved hurt? How many of your family or relatives would you like to replace with stand ins that would be “more fun?”
For many people Christmas is a time for frenzied buying of gifts for people who lack none of the basics but we try to find things which will help to enhance our already affluent lifestyle. Our passage encourages us to set our minds on things above and not on things of this world. It is ironic that the time when Christ gave up everything in heaven to come to earth, we are thinking about the things which we want which will take our minds off of the true meaning of Christmas.
We will have all kinds of opportunity to demonstrate our true nature. Will we get jealous when someone else gets a nicer gift? Will we get angry if mom and dad don’t get the things we think are the coolest and the things you’ve dreamed of having or your friends want? Will we be grateful for everything which is given to us in love? Our real nature will be demonstrated during this Christmas season. Will God be pleased with our attitudes?
Paul describes the kind of attitudes we should have at our Christmas gatherings. “Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace and be thankful. “
Can’t you just picture a warm glow shining though the windows of a home where families are not only gathered by tradition but guided by this kind of code of conduct? The mood is not explosive, agitated or abrasive. This is an unnatural calm that fills the room as if Jesus himself is present. Those who would naturally demonstrate their wit by cutting or sarcastic remarks are flowing with love and compassionate speech. That family member who always has to get in a snide remark or a lowdown dig is demonstrating gentleness and kindness in his speech. Impossible you say as you sit in disbelief around the festive laden Christmas dinner? Not only are those gathered around the dinner table biting into turkey or ham, they are biting their lips when tempted to say something offensive ( even when it might be justified) Mashed potatoes are not the only thing being swallowed. With the presence of Jesus swallowing pride is the order of the day.
What else does Paul say we are to put off? Verse 5 of Col 3 says, “ Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature; - so people would read this as earthy nature - sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed which is idolatry. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. And some of you like to go back to these once in a while. But you are to be dead to that kind of temptation to do these kinds of things.
Paul goes on in verse 8. Now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from you lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
How many of these attitudes show up at gatherings? No one ever gets angry or makes biting malicious remarks? - Not with Jesus there. No one talk bad of others? Not with Jesus there. How many off colored jokes are told at family gatherings? Not with Jesus there. No one tells a lie, fails to tell a significant part of a story to imply a different result, or stretches the truth with a little exaggeration? Not with Jesus there.
Jesus can permeate our being in a way that will bring truth, honesty, love, kindness and goodness out in our attitudes and actions this Christmas. They issue is only - will you let Him? Will you make a commitment today to put away the old clothes and put on the new. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that the old is gone and the new is before us.
This is a great time for baking and a grandma asked if her grandson wanted a snack. Being a chubby little guy that couldn’t resist grandma’s delicious baking heartily agreed. “Here. Have some cooking oil.” She offered. “Yuck,” responded the boy. “ How about some raw eggs? Teased Grandma. “That’s gross, “was the reply. “Would you like some flour or baking soda?” The lad cried out, “ Those things are all yucky.” To which the grandma instructed, “ Yes, all those things seem bad by themselves, but when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake!”
God works the same way. When we anticipate difficult times with extended family, we need to remember that God is a specialist at mixing and bringing about results that are immeasurably more wonderful than we could ever ask or think. It is not just getting rid of the bad that wants to mess us up but it is putting on what God wants for our lives that will make our life more and more enjoyable. The new self will transform us into the image of its Creator Jesus Christ.
Let’s all take responsibility for making our family times less stressful, with more time to rejoice. Children, try to be kind and loving to your brothers and sisters. Jesus wants us to be patient and gentle. Loving others means that we will share our toys with others this Christmas. And the big boys with the big toys, use that which God has blessed you with to bless others. Bring Christmas happiness to a grandma or grandpa that is in a nursing home or hospital. Help some family not as well off by offering transportation or some goodies. Enjoy your Christmas by making others happy and help others understand the real meaning of Christmas is only found in the Christ of the Christ mass. As we celebrate the coming of Christ let us allow the word of God to dwell in our hearts as we teach and encourage each other with all wisdom and sing together with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in our hearts. May our spirits be overwhelmed with God’s precious gift the Lord Jesus Christ.
Return to Sermons Index