I would like to challenge you today to take a moment and let the Christmas rush turn into the Christmas hush.
Think for just a minute, “What do I want for Christmas?”
I read a sermon from Mark Adams and he replied in song to that same question…
“Well, since you asked, what I really want is …
“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose. Yuletide carols being sung by a choir and folks dressed up like Eskimos. Everybody knows some turkey…” that’s true … everybody does know some turkey.”
How about you, honey? What do you want for Christmas? “I’ve just one wish on this Christmas Eve. I wish I were with you. I wish I were with you. Merry Christmas, darling.”
What do you want for Christmas, little boy? “All I want for Chrithmas is my two front teeth, my two front teeth, yeah, my two front teeth. Gee, if I could only have my two front teeth, then I could with you Merry Chrithmiths.”
And you? “I’m dreaming of white Christmas … just like the ones I used to know, where the treetops glisten and children listen to hear sleigh bells in the snow.”
Soldier, what do you want for Christmas? “That’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? Christmas Eve will find me where the love-light gleams. I’ll be home for Christmas … if only in my dreams.”
How ’bout you dude? What do you want for Christmas? “Man, what I want is … … voices singing ‘let’s be jolly, deck the halls with boughs of holly.’ Rocking around the Christmas tree at the Christmas party hop.”
Mr. Retail-store-owner, what do you want? “Silver and gold, silver and gold. Everyone wishes for silver and gold … don’t they?”
What do you want for Christmas? From teeth to turkey to tinsel, I think it’s clear that songwriters over the decades have captured the desires of our hearts when it comes to Christmas. When it comes right down to it, what most people want out of Christmas is to have a good time, the best time, “the most wonderful time of the year.”
And I couldn’t agree more. Christmas ought to be … “the hap-happiest season of all.”
In my family we had certain traditions that were associated with Christmas. We would read the Christmas story, the one about Mary and Joseph and Jesus, not the one about “The Night Before Christmas.” We were allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve. We would head to my grandparents house for a turkey dinner. When Joanna and I were first married, we would make the trek to Terre Haute, Indiana to her parent’s house. For the first nine years, we saw snow eight of those years. Joanna’s family has a tradition of each year watching Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, a Christmas classic. Interestingly, even though Berlin was born in Russia and lived in New York, he headed south to Florida during his winters, as often as he could. Maybe, his wish was just a pull on our sentimental heart strings. It doesn’t matter to me though. I find myself each Christmas longing for snow. Even now, while writing this I find myself crooning along with Bing Crosby, “may all your Christmases be white.”
“I’m Dreaming of White Christmas,” not just for me, but for you also.
In Isaiah 1:18, God says “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Consider with me what the Bible has to say.
1. I’m Dreaming of the Whiteness of a Pure Heart
The picture is a courtroom scene. God addresses Israel specifically, but this is also addressed to each one of us that find ourselves in a permanent sinful condition. When God uses the word “scarlet,” He is describing a permanent condition, like a permanent stain that cannot be removed. He is saying that He wants to give us the whiteness of a pure heart. He wants to remove the stain and restore us, just as if wool could be restored to its original whiteness.
How can this happen? We have to go back to the very beginning and understand that when Adam and Eve fell into sin they plunged the entire human race into sin. (Rom. 3:10; 3:23) We have a permanent stain of sin. Because of Sin, mankind must be separated from a holy God, the payment for sin is death (Rom. 6:23); mankind is hopeless and in no way can save himself, but Christ came to the world to die for the whole world (John 3:16).
What must I then do to be saved? John 3:16 says For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:36 says He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. The key phrase is “believe on” or “believeth in.” It is easy to see that this is talking about much more than an intellectual assent to a fact, but a complete trust.
Several years ago, my daughter Abby was stuck in a neighbors tree house. She was about eight feet in the air and she didn’t want to come down the rope. I told her to jump to Daddy. She stood there wobbling in the tree house. She looked like she wanted to jump, but she really didn’t want to jump. I said, “Abby, don’t you believe Daddy will catch you.” She replied, “Yes Daddy, I believe you will catch me.” She was still standing in the tree house, looking down in terror. I said, “Abby, Daddy wouldn’t let you get hurt, would he?” “No, Daddy, you wouldn’t let me get hurt.” She still wouldn’t jump. Finally, I said sternly, “Abby, jump!” I think Abby is a picture of where many of us are in our relationship to God. We believe that Jesus is God. We believe He was born in Bethlehem and was laid in a manger. We believed He lived a sinless life and worked many miracles. We believe that He died on the cross for our sins. We even believe that He rose again. But for many of us it is just an intellectual belief. We are like Abby wobbling up in the tree house saying “Yes, I believe,” but we have never actually jumped into Jesus’ arms. That is what it means to “believe upon,” we must take the leap of faith into Jesus arms, placing our complete trust in Him.
This time of the year when the world focuses upon the birth of Christ – let’s remember that Christ is our Savior, that mankind had no hope, other than the little boy that was laid in a manger.
Listen to my sermon from this past Sunday, “Behold, I Bring You the Gospel.”
In the next post I’ll continue the thought of a white Christmas.