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Lk 2:22-40 · Gal 4:4-7 · Isa 61:10--62:3 · Ps 148
This Week's Sermons

Making Christmas Last
Luke 2:22-40

A cartoon in the New Yorker magazine says it all. In the middle of the floor is a dried up, withered, Christmas tree. The calendar on the wall reads December 26. Dad is sitting in his chair with an ice pack on his head. Mom is in a bathrobe and her hair in rollers. The floor is a virtual mountain of torn wrappings, boxes, and bows. Junior is reaching in his stocking to be sure that there is no more candy. In the background we see a table with a thoroughly picked turkey still sitting there. The caption on the cartoon reads simply: The morning after.

Well, perhaps we feel a little that way. Perhaps we fell somewhat let down. If you feel that way it is quite understandable. Over the past weeks our emotions have been wound tighter than a toy doll. Our festivities have led up to near fever pitch. And then, suddenly, it is all over. Is it any wonder that it is somewhat of a letdown. Psychiatrist even have a word for it. They call it Christmas-slump.

A number of years ago, when Lou Holtz was at the University of Arkansas, he was taking his team to play a bowl game in Tempe, Arizona. The game was to be played on Christmas day. He was asked how he felt about playing a game on Christmas, rather than being with his family. The coach answered candidly: "I would rather be in Tempe. After all, once you have been to church, had Christmas dinner, and opened the presents, Christmas is the most boring day of the year."

Is it possible to lose the spirit of Christmas that quickly? Let us be candid that as we take down the decorations for another year, there is a sinking emptiness and an emotional letdown. My Mom long ago gave up live Christmas trees in favor of artificial. I remember trying as a child trying all the tricks to keep it alive. We put aspirin in the water, then we would try sugar, but regardless of the solutions the tree would always wither. Why? Because it had been cut off from its roots.

May be that is our problem this morning...

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Leonard Sweet's Sermon

Life and Light to All He Brings
Luke 2:22-40

God called creation into being with the words "Let there be."
Son of God was called into creation with the words "Let it be."

May you "Let Be" Christ in you this 2015.
May you "Let Be" you in 2015.

The first sound of God's voice we hear in Scripture is the divine round of "Let there be..." The first sound in that "Let there be" round was "Let there be light" (Genesis 1:3). To "see the light" has been a repeated, yet ever changing metaphor ever since that first creative burst. God's first breath of words brought actual, physical, life-stimulating light.

Skip ahead a few thousand years. Now the symbol of "light" is not the sun, but the invention of the Thomas Edison Research Laboratories. It's called the "light bulb." In 1879 the research team that Thomas Edison oversaw created a filament that could burn an "electric arc" for forty hours without burning out. By 1882 the tungsten-based version of this filament made long-life bulbs a reality. "Let there be light" was converted by the lowly light bulb from a sacred mantra to a hardware-store purchase. And as anyone who has ever watched a cartoon knows, a big, bright, new idea or insight is demonstrated by a "light bulb" going off over someone's head.

Except now.

Now everyone has an "app" that gives light. No more need for "presto," "let-there-be-light" bulbs. We are guided in the darkness by electrodes.

Before the light bulb, before the light "app," there was darkness. Lots of darkness. The division between the light of day and dark of night was the major distinguishing point in everyone's daily existence. Night and Day governed what we did, where we did it, and how long we did it. Light and dark regulated every day existence like clockwork.

Today when the power goes out we panic. We are shocked. We feel "powerless." No lights, no heat, no TV, no umbilical electronic connections to comfort us. We are on our own, in the dark. Especially at this darkest time of the year we find our lives divided into two very basic experiences...

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