A Red Christmas (12/7/14)

Posted by on Dec 12, 2014 in Sermons | 0 comments

Pastor Jim continued his Advent sermon series on the “Colours of Christmas” by looking at things that are red.  How can red objects remind us of Christ and help us prepare for Christmas?  Click the following “Play” button, then scroll down and follow along…
The scripture reading was from Luke 1:26-38.  Pastor Jim read from the “Life Application Bible” (which uses the Living Bible translation/paraphrase).  Open the drop down box to follow the scripture.


Luke 1:26-38

26 The following month God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee,

27 to a virgin, Mary, engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David.

28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Congratulations, favored lady! The Lord is with you!”

29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.

30 “Don’t be frightened, Mary,” the angel told her, “for God has decided to wonderfully bless you!

31 Very soon now, you will become pregnant and have a baby boy, and you are to name him ‘Jesus.’

32 He shall be very great and shall be called the Son of God. And the Lord God shall give him the throne of his ancestor David.

33 And he shall reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom shall never end!”

34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can I have a baby? I am a virgin.”

35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of God shall overshadow you; so the baby born to you will be utterly holy—the Son of God.

36 Furthermore, six months ago your Aunt[b] Elizabeth—‘the barren one,’ they called her—became pregnant in her old age!

37 For every promise from God shall surely come true.”

38 Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to do whatever he wants. May everything you said come true.” And then the angel disappeared.

The Living Bible (from BibleGateway.com)



Seeing Red

What are some red objects that remind you of Christ during Christmas?

  • Holly Berries– remind us of the drops of blood that Christ shed.
  • Apples–  Apples used to be hung in Christmas Trees to remind us of our sinful state and need for forgiveness,
  • Poinsettias– The red flower reminds us of Christ’s  blood, the White flowers remind us of His purity, and the shape of the flowers is like a star.  That reminds us of the visit of the Maji.  Poinsettias have been called the “Flowers of the Holy Night.”

But what about Elmo?!?  Yes- Elmo (the character in Sesame Street)!  There’s a movie called “Elmo Saves Christmas,” and in that film is a song where Elmo sings “Keep Christmas with you, all through the year.”  Don’t put Jesus away with the Christmas ornaments! Even after the Christmas season- with all of its traditions and colors that remind us of Christ- we must continue to look  for reminders; to keep Christ always first in our hearts.

OK.  This might be a corny example… but the message is true!  God came to the earth as a baby, lived among us, and then died an awful death so that we could be forgiven.  That’s something worth keeping with you all through the year.


1:  Anger

anger-477044__180The color red can remind us of Temper.  We can fly off the handle, red hot with anger.  And during this Christmas rush of shopping, there  are a lot of things that can get us angry.

When the wise men (Magi) came to King Herod in Matthew 2:1-3 and asked where the King of Israel was to be born, the Bible says that Herod was “troubled”.  The Greek word used here is “tarasso.”  One definition of this word is “stir or agitate to a furious state.”  In other words, Herod was red with anger.  His pride, his position was threatened.  He missed out on the gift- the promised Messiah was here, but he was more concerned with keeping his power and earthly throne.

But Herod’s not the only one.  Anyone been to the mall recently?  Have you tried to get a parking spot?  Temper and anger can prevent us from experiencing God’s gift of peace and joy.  If we get so caught up in in our own concerns and pride or struggles, we won’t see God (“blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God….”).  Check out the following verses…

When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”   “I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals.
The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people.   They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.
They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar  by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.” 

The work of God surrounds you and can be totally obvious; if your heart is pure and free from things like anger. The people in these verses “missed” the gift and didn’t see God.  They were unable and unwilling to prepare and open their eyes to God.

But opening your eyes and preparing to meet Jesus is pretty important!  Look at what the Bible says about Him:

On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:


which God will bring about in his own time — God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen. 
They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings — and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,  to the glory of God the Father.
The king said to Daniel, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.”

We need to keep looking for ways to see Jesus in our day to day lives and to honor Him as “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”

What if Jesus had responded with anger during the false trial?  What if He had some choice words for the soldiers who drove nails into His hands?  If He lost His temper and allowed human weakness to overtake Him, He wouldn’t have been the perfect Lamb.  He wouldn’t have been able to reconcile us to God. 

None of the  following gifts of reconciliation would be true:

Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.  
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:   that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  
I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.  
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. 
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,   yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 

May red- and our anger- remind us that Jesus didn’t loose His temper.  May red- and our own focus on ourselves- remind us that we need to focus on Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.


2: Embarrassment

emoticon-41960__180Mary was in a pretty difficult situation.  It was downright embarrassing… even life threatening.  A  woman “with child” who was engaged to another man was liable to be stoned.  When the news from the angle came, the Bible says she was “disturbed” or “perplexed.”  Embarrassment would also fit.  Imagine the name calling, gossip, or shame.

But this idea that God would enter the world through a woman (even a virgin) is consistent throughout scripture. Mary was prepared.  She was ready to submit to God and to trust Him fully.  Mary Got it.  Check out the following verses about the coming of the Messiah:

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.
Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
How long will you wander,  O unfaithful daughter?   The Lord will create a new thing on earth — a woman will surround a man.”
Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great:  He appeared in a body,  was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.
“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”

Despite all of the embarrassment, Mary “got It.”  She stood there and told  the angel, “Be it unto me according to Your Word.”  She knew it was going to be hard.  She didn’t buy into a “prosperity theology.”  Do we have that kind of faith?  Can we give it all up to God; count the cost and allow Him  to put us in any circumstance because we trust Him?  God  is trustworthy!

Struggling times will come.  And, they are opportunities to express our faith and deepen our trust.  Mary responded with faith and didn’t let embarrassment hold her back.  The Bible gives other examples:

Lord, truly I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant; you have freed me from my chains. 
And now, Lord God, keep forever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised,   so that your name will be great forever. Then men will say, ‘The Lord Almighty is God over Israel!’ And the house of your servant David will be established before you.   “O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, you have revealed this to your servant, saying, ‘I will build a house for you.’ So your servant has found courage to offer you this prayer.   O Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your words are trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant.   Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, O Sovereign Lord, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever.” 
Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.  


If you are offering to send workers who will only come if the work is easy, I can’t use them. Tell them to stay home.

– David Livingston

God doesn’t need “tickle me Elmo” disciples.  He needs us to be in it for the long haul.

What if, 33 years later, as Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, praying while sweating drops of blood…  What if He said Father “let this cup pass from me.”  What if He put a period there and didn’t say “but Thy will be done.”  Jesus said, no- I’ll take the hard road.  What the Father has is much better.


3:  Love

Mary was able to wear the red of embarrassment because she also saw the red of love.  It was her foundation point.  She smiley-25526__180loved God and trusted Him to the fullest.  Love.  She had no idea of where the journey would go, but she loved God so much (“pondered these things in her heart “) that she was willing to joyfully go wherever God led and to love this child that You’re allowing me to come.

Go down a few verses and see her prayer.  “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my savior.”  These are not the words of someone held captive by embarrassment.

Mary was living the truth that John would later write in 1 John 4:18 says there is no fear in love.  Perfect love casts out fear (and does a pretty good job at casting out anger and embarrassment too). The one who fears, has not been made perfect (complete) in love.

Love is the single most powerful thing in the world.


And so, during this Advent season, when we see red, we shouldn’t be angry or embarrassed.  Instead we should be reminded of Jesus’ gift of love for the Father and for us; how He refused anger and instead shed the red of His blood to buy our forgiveness. Red should remind us of the love of Mary; of how she shunned embarrassment and instead put her faith in God.

Red should help us to “Keep Christmas with you, all through the year” (even in the mall parking lot).

What do you see when you See Red???




Quiz Time!

As you reflect on what you’ve just heard/read, give this quiz a try.  If you don’t understand an answer (or if you disagree with the “correct” answer, post a comment…

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