The following is an excerpt from Daniel Riemenschneider’s Christmas Party talk at a Friday Night Coffeehouse gathering.
I’m sure you all have some favorite Christmas memories and traditions.
About five years ago, back when Amy and I were dating, I took her on a surprise date. I told her we were going out to eat and then doing a Christmas’y thing, but she would just have to wait and see what the surprise was. After dinner, we began driving west on North Avenue, and kept going. Finally, on a country road in the middle of seemingly nowhere, we pulled in front of this mansion that was decked out with almost one million Christmas lights that danced to music. It was epic! We sat and watched the show from our warm car while sipping on hot chocolate.
Ever since, we have made it a tradition to take a set of friends to visit the Christmas light mansion. This year, we took our friends Brian and Heather. We did the same thing I did to Amy, told them we were taking them out to dinner and that we had a surprise. After driving the familiar road through the country we pulled up to the familiar house again. They were thrilled. Woohoo!
This year, there were some new features. First of all, a parking lot was created on the front lawn. And then there were these new two story tall LED light walls. #overthetop! We tuned in our radio on to the music and began watching the 45 minute show. Soon enough I found myself saying to our guests,” I’m sorry it looks cool and all, but it usually syncs to music better. Seems a little chaotic tonight.” This went on for a while, in fact, Amy had to remind me not to complain.
Finally it hit me. We were listening to the wrong radio station. Oh so embarrassing! We quickly realized that even though the lights looked cool on there own, it was so much better when things were synced together!
The Big Idea of this story is this: We may think we are in the right place, enjoying the show, and yet we have entirely missed the fact that things are not in sync.
Some questions to consider:
- How long does it take us to realize (things are not in sync)?
- What helps us to realize (things are not in sync)?
- What do we do once we realize (things are not in sync)? Do we “change the radio station” or just keep on the way it was?
We are in the Christmas season. So, it would make sense to talk a little about the Christmas. A quick background of Christmas story:
- God creates the world perfectly.
- Humans, starting with Adam & Eve, choose to disobey God, therefore bringing on sin and suffering.
- God’s plan is always for redemption of his people. At first, this is through a set of regulations in how to be right with God. But this was the temporary plan.
- God choose to send his Son Jesus to be miraculously born as a human about 2000 years ago.
- God’s son Jesus is born in a Palestinian community called Bethlehem.
- God chooses to announce the birth to royalty (kings) and ….
There are these shepherds…
They are to live outdoors tending the flock. They are outcasts and of a low social class. They timid socially. (They don’t spend much time around people.) The shepherds had their own hopes for their life, only to be reminded that they were at the bottom, going no where. We may connect with the shepherds because they were down on their luck; looking for something better in the future, and yet seemingly trapped in their situation.
You may feel like this…
- You’re told that you should make the most of your life, live it to the fullest, but it seems like you are stuck, or overwhelmed, or uncertain.
- You’re told that Jr High and High School is supposed to be the best years, but it stinks. So much pressure. You don’t have good friends. Don’t know who you are.
Do you ever feel like this? What are we supposed to feel then? Are we missing something? We are here to experience the light show (called life) but nothing seems to be in sync.
But then something changes for the shepherds. They have this “Ah-ha” moment in which they realize that “things are not in sync” after all. That they’re feeling off, because they’re missing true hope in their life.
I wonder if the thing we are missing is actually smack dab in the middle of the Christmas story.
The point of Christmas is Jesus. The angel exclaimed to the timid shepherds:
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. …A Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11)
Jesus is the person who will get things back in sync. He is the one you are looking for!
- When you feel stuck, overwhelmed, or uncertain: Jesus made the choice to come into your world and offer you direction, peace, and confidence.
- When you feel the pressure of school, of your life ahead of you and of knowing who you are: Jesus made the choice to come into your world and offer you real companionship and identity.
- When all you feel is pain: Jesus made the choice to come into your world and offer you hope.
We live in a screwed up world. (All of us) really need something/someone to cling to. We know who that someone is, its Jesus Christ.