Faithlife Sermons

Handling Delicate Things

Keeping the Holidays Holy  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Today will be a little bit different in the way that I preach. I want to handle some delicate things today. My prayer through out this last week has been that what I speak about would be to your benefit.
Today will be a little bit different in the way that I preach. I want to handle some delicate things today. As your pastor my prayer through out this last week has been that I what I am about to talk about would be to your benefit.
And as your pastor I must address life as it truly is. Maybe I am just talking to myself today, and if you take the trip with me maybe it will apply to your life. Family and Feelings...
Isaiah 11:1 NKJV
There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
HANDLING MY FAMILY
HANDLING MY FAMILY
In the Gospel of Matthew, the Christmas story is preceded with a list of the ancestors of Jesus.
This serves as a family history and traces the genealogy of Christ all the way back to Abraham. In this family tree, there was a mix of honorable characters and (pause) others. (smile)
Interestingly, Matthew chose not to name Bathsheba though he alluded to her in verse 6. She was the woman David had the adulterous affair with...
Matthew 1:6 NKJV
and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.
And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Uria.
Is anyone here willing to admit that your family has some others?
Willing to admit there are situations that no one dares name?
When families come together around the holidays, there are often situations that everyone would rather not speak of. We share this reality with those in the family of Jesus. There were many emotional situations surrounding the families of the first Christmas.
We share this reality with those in the family of Jesus. There were many emotional situations surrounding the families of the first Christmas.
ELIZABETH & ZACHARIAS
Zacharias was a priest who didn’t believe the angel, Gabriel, when told that his wife would have a child in old age.
He was struck silent and unable to speak until their child was born.
would have a child in old age. o He was struck silent and unable to speak until their child was born. o He and Elizabeth broke with historical tradition to give their baby a non-family name. o Their child grew up and lived in the wilderness ().
He and Elizabeth broke with historical tradition to give their baby a non-family name.
Their child grew up and lived in the wilderness ().
MARY & HER PARENTS
Mary was confused and disturbed by the angel’s message ().
How must her parents have felt? When Mary became pregnant before the wedding, the situation was ripe for disgrace.
the situation was ripe for disgrace. o Mary left her home and stayed with Elizabeth for three months.
Mary left her home and stayed with Elizabeth for three months.
JOSEPH & HIS PARENTS
They were descendants of King David and became distressed enough to decide to break the engagement.
break the engagement.
We all wish for perfect family gatherings that are loving, full of joy, and stress free. But we know that family relationships can be complicated and leave room for vendettas, control freaks, grudges, disagreements, unwanted advice, and unrealistic expectations.
It was George Burns who quipped, “Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.”
No doubt, one of the biggest reasons we get stressed about seeing family is expectations. We see holiday specials or remember childhood holidays and we think things should be perfect. When our realities don’t match that, we get frustrated and we’re reminded of what we don’t have.
Today, family structures are becoming more complex, which may disrupt traditions and rituals and require celebrating the holidays in a new, different way. A common example is found when parents’ divorce and remarry and, due to a “blending” of family units, present uncomfortable and unwelcome changes around the holidays. In every 2nd, 3rd, or more marriages, families bring baggage with them.
The closer we are and the more things that are disclosed in our relationships, the more we hear things we don’t like. In this dynamic, conflict becomes a normal part of family relationships. Amid these realities, it is possible to relieve the stress of family gatherings and maintain harmony. Even blended families can have cherished holiday moments.
The prophet Isaiah spoke a Word of hope in his day that still rings true.
Isaiah 11:1 NKJV
There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
In this scripture, we discover that from the broken, mired, and messed-up family tree that extended from Abraham, Christ would come. In the following verse, we see how Jesus would handle the human race.
Isaiah 11:2 NKJV
The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
God, in his limitless wisdom, knew the failures of the human
God, in his limitless wisdom, knew the failures of the human imperfections of humanity. He had dealt with centuries of human mistakes, errors, and sin yet still chose to become part of the human family!
These words illustrate the depth of Christ’s ability to handle humanity. He would be clothed with wisdom and understanding, and he would come with the “spirit of counsel” and might. In this sense, “might” refers to the strength of heart which enables a person to manage difficulties. “Knowledge” refers to the attributes and plans of God. Lastly, “the fear of the Lord” conveys a desire to please the Lord.
God, in his limitless wisdom, knew the failures of the human imperfections of humanity. He had dealt with centuries of human mistakes, errors, and sin. Yet still chose to become part of the human family!
With Christ living in us, all of the qualities He has should also be at work in us.
imperfections of humanity. He would be clothed with wisdom centuries of human mistakes, errors, and sin yet still chose to become part of the human family!
We should let the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, in us guide us to be Christ-like in our dealings with others. The ultimate test of our Christ-likeness is whether or not this can be achieved in the context of our families.
and understanding, and he would come with the “spirit of counsel” and might. In this sense, “might” refers to the strength of heart which enables a person to manage difficulties. “Knowledge” refers to the attributes and plans of God. Lastly, “the fear of the Lord” conveys a desire to please the Lord. With
Of all the people on the earth to whom we should make the effort to be kind, our family should come first.
A FEW PRACTICAL POINTS
*Disclaimer: These points are presented with the assumption that abuse is not present among family members. Physical and/or verbal abuse is not acceptable.
Identify What You Dread If there is something that you do not like about the family gathering, then deal with it. Decide what you can do to change any of these things.
• Unhappy memories - Don’t dwell on them or bring them up.
• Toxic relatives - Keep some distance.
• Changes to the family dynamic (divorce, death, children that no longer live at home); these may be more obvious during the holidays.
• Lowered defenses: stress, cold and flu season, gets dark earlier, eating worse, sleeping less, etc.
• Obligations/Expectations: eat food you don’t like, go to someone’s house that you wouldn’t otherwise visit, etc.
Let Things Go for The Time Being
• Forgotten birthday, unpaid debt, longstanding feuds.
• Forgive.
HANDLING MY FEELINGS
As blessed as the holidays are, it can be a time of sadness for those who have lived long enough to have experienced loss. Loss can be the result of divorce, death, or separation. Estrangement. Watching the “other half” continue on with traditions while being alone makes the feelings even more intense. Many things can trigger deep emotions:
• A smell.
• A song.
• Certain decorations.
• Specific traditions.
Can be constant reminders of how happy others are and can be painful reminders of what we lack. Holidays are a particularly difficult time of year for those of us dealing with family conflict, break-ups, loneliness, or mental health issues.
In , around the time that Jesus begins his ministry at age 30, he travels to his hometown and begins teaching in the synagogue. Taking the book of Isaiah, he begins to read...
Isaiah 61:1–3 NKJV
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
Then He looks to the crowd and declares, “this day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears ().” With these words, He reveals to those gathered that day that he was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, which goes on to read:
Isaiah 61:3 NKJV
To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
To survive the holidays, we must take a cue from the Messiah and focus on the true meaning of the season. Christmas is not just about celebrating the birth of Christ, but also celebrating why he came. There is more meaning to Bethlehem than just a birth, a manger, a star, angels, shepherds, and wise men.
To survive the holidays, we must take a cue from the Messiah and focus on the true meaning of the season. Christmas is not just about celebrating the birth of Christ, but also celebrating why he came. There is so much more meaning to Bethlehem than just a birth, a manger, a star, angels, shepherds, and wise men.
Bethlehem is a symbol of hope.
It is the sign to the world that God won’t leave us alone and that He cares more than we can comprehend.
He didn’t just recognize that life was a “few days and full of trouble ().” He decided to do something about it, “to come that [we] might have life, and that [we] might have it more abundantly ().”
He is a High Priest that understands and sympathizes with our weaknesses (). This is why, when we come to the throne of God, we find grace to help us when we need it most!
So, on those days when life seems like the pits, take it to the King!
Take me to the king, I don’t have much to bring. My heart is torn in pieces It’s my offering. Lay me at the throne, Leave me there alone, To gaze upon your glory.
Prayer is one of the most important privileges we have as a child of God. “Pray about it” is not an over-simplified answer for how to handle painful circumstances. Prayer is direct access to God and the opportunity to be reminded of His love.
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