St. Johns
Stealing Christmas: Hijacked by Despair
December 2, 2018

Stealing Christmas: Hijacked by Despair

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Speaker: Dr Jon Lovelady | Series: Stealing Christmas

Merry Christmas! In most every popular Christmas movie, there is a crisis surrounding Christmas. Maybe this is a case of art imitating life. Unfortunately, many people find themselves in crisis as they approach the Christmas season. The ghosts of Christmas past return to haunt us and burden us with guilt, shame or fear. Or the Grinch takes our gifts of hope, peace and joy and leaves us feeling lost and alone. In the series, Stealing Christmas we will confront the things that rob us of the power of this season and God’s gift to all of us in Jesus Christ. In this week’s sermon, Hijacked by Despair we turn to Luke 1:11-20 and to Zechariah’s encounter with Gabriel, God’s Angel. Zechariah’s despair is evident in one question, “How will I know this?” As you read these verses focus on the joy and new possibilities that God wants to bring into Zechariah’s life and to ours. Luke 1:11-20: Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous– to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” 18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” 19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” (NIV

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