Peace at X-Mess
I read a story getting ready for today’s sermon that told about a little girl during the Christmas Season. It seems that her mother was so busy scheduling parties and get-togethers with family and friends that she was constantly on edge. Her dad was so busy putting up the outside lights and decorating the yard for Christmas that he, too, was grumpy.
In fact the tension around the house was so thick that they were constantly telling the little girl that she was in the way, and that she needed to go on and let them get this important stuff done. Instead of this being a happy time of the year, it was very stressful and lonely in her home. So that night as she said her prayers before she went to bed she prayed that God would forgive us our Christmases as we forgive those who Christmas against us.
We have been looking at the stress, loneliness, and frustration that makes a mess out of out holiday seasons. And I hope that by us being open about our frustration that you have felt a little better knowing that you are normal, and these are normal feelings.
Over the past few weeks I have had a few friends say to me, Jeremy, I just wish the holidays would get over. We wish we could get through them and fast forward to get to the other side. I understand that feeling. We had a wonderful Christmas morning today at our house. It was full of presents, and family, and all the things you would hope for, but it was still a long way from a Norman Rockwell painting. Everything wasn’t perfect. Everything wasn’t peaceful. But this morning we gather together to celebrate the one who can bring peace in the midst of our mess.
I want you to look with me at a unique text for Christmas morning. It is found in the book of Mark, a gospel that doesn’t even reference the Birth of Christ, but gives us hope in the midst of our mess. Look at Mark 4:35-41. (Read Text)
I think this text is so important to us that are struggling to find peace in the midst of our mess. You see Jesus has always been able to bring peace to the storms of our life. And did you notice that Mark doesn’t just say that the wind and waves settled down, he said there was a Great Calm. It’s as if the sea went from raging to as calm as glass in a matter of seconds.
We are all looking for a little of that peace today. I love the fact that Isaiah the prophet says that Jesus is the “Prince of Peace”. The prophet knew that Jesus can bring peace to every aspect of our lives if we will allow Him to.
During this time of the year we all expect to find feelings of peace, tranquility, and calmness. But as we have noticed and admitted several times over the past few weeks that many times during this time of the year we feel like one of the apostles riding out these waves. I find hope in the fact that in very much the same way that Jesus desired for the Apostles to trust Him and find peace, He wants us to trust Him and find the peace He offers.
I can’t believe that I am asking this but how many of you have ever seen the movie "Talladega Nights" with Will Farrell? It's not a movie I would sit down and watch with my grandparents, or parents, or even the boys, but I did watch it once.
If you have not seen it, that’s ok. It's about this race car driver named Rickey Bobbie. Rickey Bobbie is not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed, but surprisingly in the midst of the movie there is a theological moment that happens when they gather together and Rickey Bobbie prays. In our day it's kind of unusual for you to be watching a Hollywood movie and to see a prayer. It's even more unusual when it's a prayer in Jesus' name. It's even more interesting in "Talladega Nights" because it's a prayer in Jesus' name to the little baby Jesus.
Ricky Bobbie prays a goofy prayer to, "Dear Tiny Baby Jesus. Dear 8 pound, 6 ounce newborn infant Jesus, don’t even know a word yet, just a little infant and so cuddly, but still omnipotent,"
His wife who is only marginally sharper than Rickey Bobbie in the movie says, "I don't think you're supposed to pray to the little baby Jesus. He grew up. He became a man. I think you are supposed to pray to a grown up Jesus."
Now the part I want you to notice is how Rickey Bobbie responds to her. He says, "Well, I like the Christmas Jesus best and I’m saying grace. When you say grace you can say it to grown up Jesus, or teenage Jesus, or whoever you want. I like the baby version the best."
Now I am sure when you were trying to pull the toys out of your kids hands and get them in the car today the last thing you thought you would hear was a scene from a Will Ferrell movie. But stay with me for a minute. I really think that a lot of people are like Ricky Bobby. They like the tiny baby Jesus because they don’t think that the baby makes any demands on their life. He's like a little genie in a lamp that you can rub and get your wishes granted.
Now I want you to pull back from the movie, or better yet forget about the movie all together. I want you to understand that we can only find peace in the midst of our X-Mess because that tiny baby Jesus did grow to become a man. And because He did grow up, and fulfilled the whole Law of the Old Testament, and provided His life as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, we can have peace and hope.
The Bible's answer to so much of what we go through in our life is hope. Heaven is a reality. Christmas reminds us of that reality. God doesn't offer us a hassle free life or a mess free life, but He does offer us a hope filled faith through the person of Jesus Christ.
Today the grown up, crucified, and resurrected Savior invites you to come. Come to Him and take your concerns, and your worries, and your fears, and your hassles, and your hurt, and all of your mess. Be still. lay it at His feet and know that He is God.
Know that you are not alone in your hurt and hassle. Accept the best Christmas gift you can give yourself and that is the gift of peace that comes from a Savior who was born, grew up, and in an amazing act of love, gave Himself a as a willing sacrifice.
Jesus Christ is the hope of the world, the baby Jesus, who was born, lived and was raised so we can experience forgiveness and a new life.
Remember that no matter what comes against you, there is hope. You can experience it. You can have it. Jesus says to you, "Come all who are weary and in need of rest." Come to Him and experience His peace.