Merry Christmas!

This is my Christmas Eve message for the Canyons Church tomorrow night, just thought I’d go ahead and post it now because it’s going to be crazy times the rest of the week.

I love Christmas Lights!

How many of you have ever gone for a ride in the car with family just to look at Christmas lights?

My family has two traditions that we have done for as long as I can remember..1, we drive around for hours on Christmas Eve to look at lights, We would always end up downtown Chattanooga looking at the windows at the EPB and then go over to the park and hand out Gloves, hot coco, hand warmers and stuff like that to all the homeless folks there.

You might do the same thing with your family…OR, you may have some other traditions, but now matter what we never really “look” at Christmas lights during the day…Because light shines best in the darkness.

I want to share with you a old old story that  will help us see what the real lights of Christmas really are!

Getting older we often miss the trial of Christmas for the Christmas trials. I believe that it’s also true that we can miss the lights of Christmas for all of the Christmas lights!

So tonight we travel back in time to a very dark dark time where light shined so wonderfully bright.

Judges 7:15-22 (NLT)

 15 When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship before the Lord.[a] Then he returned to the Israelite camp and shouted, “Get up! For the Lord has given you victory over the Midianite hordes!” 16 He divided the 300 men into three groups and gave each man a ram’s horn and a clay jar with a torch in it.  17 Then he said to them, “Keep your eyes on me. When I come to the edge of the camp, do just as I do. 18 As soon as I and those with me blow the rams’ horns, blow your horns, too, all around the entire camp, and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon!’”  19 It was just after midnight,[b] after the changing of the guard, when Gideon and the 100 men with him reached the edge of the Midianite camp. Suddenly, they blew the rams’ horns and broke their clay jars. 20 Then all three groups blew their horns and broke their jars. They held the blazing torches in their left hands and the horns in their right hands, and they all shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!”  21 Each man stood at his position around the camp and watched as all the Midianites rushed around in a panic, shouting as they ran to escape. 22 When the 300 Israelites blew their rams’ horns, the Lord caused the warriors in the camp to fight against each other with their swords. Those who were not killed fled to places as far away…

This was a very dark time in Israel’s history. Gods people have been long away from God and as a result the times are hard and dark. Many terrible enemies threatened to tear Isrieal apart. One such enemy was the Midianites. They would sneak into Israel and steal all of thier food! Well God raised up a man named Gideon, he was Gods chosen to be the deliverer and he is in big time trouble! The Midianites which numbered in the thousands were surrounding then and ready to destroy them…

Now I’m sure you are asking yourself WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT THIS ON CHRISTMAS EVE! Hang on…Stay with me, I’m going somewhere with this, I promise!

God gave Gideon a plane to defeat the enemy. 

At the sound of the trumpet blast and the light that blazed out from the torches the enemies were afraid and the turned and started fights each other and some ran away! You see, light shined in the darkness and the darkness couldn’t overcome it, or comprehend it, or extinguish it!

John wrote in chapter 1 and verse 5 of John..”The life-light blazed out of darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out!

And yall that exactly what happened at Christmas!  God sent his son into the dark world t shine His light so that men would no longer walk and live in darkness. 

So tonight we celebrate that Christmas light of all lights-who is Jesus Christ! He was born into this world to be broken, that out of His life light would shine so we could see the truth that God is real and that God is good. 

Now listen to this verse and tell me what you think.

 We have this treasure from God, but we are like clay jars that hold the treasure. This shows that the great power is from God, not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

That verse tells us that the light of Christ is in us. our bodies-our clay pots, like the ones that Gideon gave his men. So the question for us all to consider tonight is, the jars of clay had to be broken right. So here is what we need to think about this Christmas  season.

Are we broken so the light of Christ can come shining out?

What does that mean JC?

Well, to be broken means to do God’s will instead of our own. My wife and I have a Yorkie that named Goliath when we were trying to “break him” we did that to get him to obey us instead of doing what he likes to do. When he is broken it means he will obey the rules of the house instead of his own.

Jesus told us in Matthew 5:16 to let our light so shine before all men that they may see our good works and praise God!

So, how do we let our light shine? We obey God instead of ourselves! And when we do WE SHINE!

God wants us to shine all year long, not just at Christmas so that he can send people who don’t know Him to see us. So that they can see and appreciate His light in our lives!

So here’s what we’re going to do tonight before we close in song.. I want you to think about something that you want to do better this year. Also, think about something that you don’t want to do anymore s that we can shine!

And we want to offer that to God as a gift and then when we do, we will in a symbolic act break our glow sticks  and watch the light shine in this room filled with darkness.

No Go and let your light shine. Merry Christmas!

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