Christmas Changes Us from Head to Toe!
Christmas Changes Us from Head to Toe
1. It gives us feet that run
2. It gives us voices that shout and sing
3. It gives us eyes that see wonders
Text: Isaiah 52:7-10
“Bah! Humbug!” Two words and you know the story. The story is A Christmas Carol written by Charles Dickens. The feature character is the old Ebenezer Scrooge—a greedy, hard, and calloused man so angry and miserly that his name has become a word in the English language.
Most everyone is familiar with A Christmas Carol. Scrooge is bitter and scrooge-like. But after visits from the ghosts of Christmas past, Christmas present, and Christmas future, Ebenezer Scrooge learns his lesson, warms his heart, and is changed forever. The story is so popular that there are dozens of versions that have been produced. There’s Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Carol, and Barbie in a Christmas Carol. Yesterday I was flipping through the channels and saw a Flintsones Christmas Carol. Then there is the best one of all time—The Muppet Christmas Carol.
We all love these heartwarming tales about Christmas. We all love to see and hear how Christmas can change someone’s life. It’s a part of the culture of Christmastime in America.
But we aren’t left out. Christians aren’t left in the lurch, flipping through HD TV channels hoping to find some movie that lifts our Christmas spirits. In fact, just the opposite. Christmas moves and inspires and changes Christians more than anyone else. Just listen to Isaiah today. He tells us how Christmas Changes Us from Head to Toe
You might have fond memories from childhood of those few special Christmas gifts that you will never forget—the ones that really made you jump for joy. I recall a few G.I. Joe toys and a new bike or two that made me leap for joy and do victory laps around the house. Then I saw my friends at church and I had to run up to them as fast as I could: “Guess what happened! Guess what I got!”
Isaiah tells us how we have the same kind of Christmas joy: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”
In ancient days—strange days with out cell phones, texting, or Emails—messengers were sent to announce good news. When a battle was won, a messenger would sprint back to announce the good tidings of peace. That’s where the marathon race came from. The legend is that a Greek runner ran over 26 miles to announce victory at the Battle of Marathon over Persia.
There is a mighty battle that we are engaged in as well. That battle is with the prince of darkness—Satan. Satan plays for keeps. Satan plays for our souls. His ploy is to kill us for all eternity. He levies temptation after temptation upon us, causing us to fall deeper and deeper into sin, and further and further away from God.
As a mighty evil army of innumerable forces and unimaginable power, Satan seemed to be winning the battle. Everyone in the world is a sinner. Everyone becomes separated from God. And we only sin more and more as we get older. Satan seemed to be winning.
But hear the good news and good tidings of peace and salvation, announced by the messengers running to you: “Your God reigns!” God didn’t send missiles or tanks or thousands of foot soldiers. He sent his Son into battle. He sent his Son to live among the people he created, to face the myriad of temptations and sins the devil attacks with. Every time, Jesus triumphed. Never once did he fall into sin.
Then he squared off in battle at the cross. Jesus carried the heavy sins of the world. He experienced the fire of hell. He suffered and died in battle. But it was a death of victory and accomplishment. For on the third day he rose triumphant.
Yes, “Your God reigns!” Jesus defeated Satan. He forgives sin. He destroyed death. Your God reigns over all and has brought peace and salvation.
How that changes us! How that Changes Us from Head to Toe! It gives us feet that run. Like a little child jumping up and down and telling all his friends about his new Christmas toy, so the message of our newborn King and Savior changes us. It gives us feet that want to run out these doors and tell the first person we see. It gives us feet that want to run down the street and invite all our neighbors to church. It gives us feet that joyfully want to be in worship regularly to hear that message all over again.
Like a little child on Christmas, like an ancient messenger, we have good news of peace and salvation to tell to others. Our God reigns! Christmas Changes Us by giving us feet that run to all and proclaim that good news!
Not only do living rooms across America have children jumping up and down for joy and running helter-skelter around the house, but many of those living rooms are probably a little noisy at Christmas, too. I might remember a few times when I was younger that I shouted for joy when I got a present I really liked.
Christmas fills Christians with the same kind of joy. Listen to Isaiah: “Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the Lord returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes.”
When watchmen on the city walls would see the army return from battle, and especially their king returning from battle, they would shout for joy. The watchmen would shout for joy and announce to all the city that the battle was over and that they had won.
Christmas Changes Us in the same way. It gives us voices that shout for joy! Seeing our newborn King come for us makes us want to shout for joy. It makes us want to join the angels in exclaiming, “Glory to God in the highest!”
That’s not all our voices do at Christmas. Isaiah continues in verse 9: “Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.” Christmas makes us burst into songs too.
You’ve probably seen this kind of Christmas joy with little children singing at Christmas. At our Christmas services last weekend those little kids sang with all their might. I’m not sure if it qualifies as singing or shouting, but there was definite joy when they sang songs like Go Tell It On the Mountain. As parents and adults, we laugh at that. But maybe we should stop laughing and start learning and following their lead!
When we see our King who came as promised lying in that manger, what can we do but lift up our voices and shout for joy! When we see our King on Easter morning return from battle and from the grave triumphant and victorious, what can we do but burst into songs of joy, “For the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.”
Comforted with the peace of forgiveness, redeemed from all of our sins, now we wait and watch for King to return one last time in victory. Oh the shouting and singing we’ll do on that Last Day! Until then, we lift up our voices and burst into song over the victory of Christ on the cross. You see, Christmas Changes Us! It gives us voices that shout and sing with joy to the Lord!
Sometimes Christmas is good for some real serious double takes. We have to look twice and wipe our eyes to make sure what we’re seeing is real. Is that really a diamond necklace in the box? Is that really the book I’ve wanted for so long? Is that really a new Lexus with a bow on it in the driveway? (Ok, maybe that only happens in commercials.)
But Isaiah reminds us that the wonders of Christmas are even better for Christians. Verse 10: “The Lord will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.”
Today people show their strength by flexing their muscles. Sometimes you might see athletes make a great play and then brag about how great they are by showing and flexing their muscles.
In the Hebrew Old Testament, they had a similar expression for God’s mighty power. Often it talks about God laying bare his holy arm or accomplishing something by the strength of his arm. It’s a human way to describe a divine thing. In other words, God had his hand in that. God showed his might and his power. God accomplished that.
Think how mighty and powerful and holy God’s arm is. He created the heavens and the earth. He made the sun stand still for a day. He changed water into wine. He calmed the winds and the waves. He walked on water.
We sinners dare not approach or come close to such a powerful, mighty, and holy God who can do so much. Yet we remember that this same mighty arm was stretched out on a cross. This same mighty arm lifted up and carried all of our sins and all of our guilt. This same mighty arm crushed Satan forever.
What might! What strength! What power! It makes us a do a double take. It makes us look twice and wipe our eyes. This is real! This really happened! “The Lord will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.” So now God has given us eyes of faith to see the wonders of his salvation.
Seeing these wonders of God changes us. It gives us a new focus for life. It gives us a new outlook for life. It gives us a new way to look at life in this world, and new hope to look at life forever in heaven. Christmas Changes Us from Head to Toe. It gives us eyes that see wonders.
It’s fun to see how Christmas changes people. My naughty and crabby kids suddenly become well behaved and full of smiles when we open presents. Stressed out and tired out adults relax and enjoy life a bit when around good food, good friends, and good family.
But it’s really fun to see how Christmas changes our lives spiritually. This newborn King came for us—to live for us, to fight for us, to die for us, to win for us, to reign forever for us. He changed us from sinners to saints, from hell bound to heaven bound, from the hopeless to the hopeful. And that Changes Us from Head to Toe. It gives us feet that run to tell others the good news. It gives us voices that shout and sing for joy. It gives us eyes that have seen wonders.
So run! Shout! Sing! See! Our Savior is born! Our lives our changed!
Posted on December 26, 2011, in Church, Sermons and tagged A Christmas Carol, Christmas, Christmas Day, Church, Ebenezer Scrooge, Incarnation, Isaiah, Isaiah 52, Muppets, Scrooge, Sermons. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.