SERMON SERIES:

finding the light of christmas: joyful light

12/17/2023

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2023 Merry Christmas! Christmas is only ten days away and as we approach Christmas Eve and Christmas Day our lists seem to get longer. We may need to find that perfect gift, or stage that perfect event, or set that perfect Christmas decorative scene. Yet, we come to the realization that nothing is really perfect. This realization can shatter our expectations for a wonderful holiday. The world is powerfully imperfect, but Jesus comes to the imperfection of humanity, not to judge our failures but to share with us the joy of transformation. It is easy to get stuck in everything that is wrong with the world and with our lives. When this happens, it robs us of joy! The amazing feature of the Christmas story is that it comes into fear, into problems, into despair to bring a light of joy that is not dependent on our circumstances. This week, we turn to Zephaniah 3:12-20. The society of Zephaniah’s time was filled with violence, oppression, hopelessness, and despair because they would not listen to God’s voice or seek his face. God gives Zephaniah a vision that one day joy will fill their lives and transform their hearts.  The struggles of the present will be overcome by the voice of God singing over his people in delight! Our prayer for you is that you will hear, not just the Christmas angels but God’s voice singing over you in joy because redemption has come through a little baby born in Bethlehem. 

Zephaniah 3:12-20: But I will leave within you the meek and humble. The remnant of Israel will trust in the name of the LORD. 13 They will do no wrong; they will tell no lies. A deceitful tongue will not be found in their mouths. They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid.” 14 Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem! 15 The LORD has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. 16 On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. 17 The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” 18 “I will remove from you all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals, which is a burden and reproach for you. 19 At that time I will deal with all who oppressed you. I will rescue the lame; I will gather the exiles. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they have suffered shame. 20 At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes,” says the LORD. (NIV)