Blue Christmas

 
 
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I really struggle with depression and it seems like it’s more at this time of the year than any other time.  I don’t have a fix for it, but there is something I’ve learned that helps me tremendously.  I hope you will tune in take a listen today.  What helps you get through times of depression? Need prayer? visit my.oswegochristian.com/pray to post a request. Subscribe to our podcast on your phone to automatically have new messages downloaded weekly: in iTunes (http://my.oswegochristian.com/iTunes) or Android (http://my.oswegochristian.com/Google)

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—>We all depend on each otherOPENING ILLUSTRATION:[PLAY:  “Christmas Vacation” clip]“Clark, that’s the gift that keeps on giving, the whole year”I was trying to figure out at what age does Christmas start having that “Not so magical” quality to it. For me, it was the year that gifts went from remote control cars to my uncle giving us spare change – all the adults thought it was neat because he would give us wheat pennies and gold standard dollars and I thought, “he just gave me $1.15, where’s the Remote Control car???”I think for most people, Christmas time has a nostalgia to it of some great days gone by.  If you still have young kids, you try and help that nostalgia keep from going too quickly.But for lots of people Christmas time can be a time that brings on the blues.Heck, Elvis Presley even sang a song about it. There are aLot of things contribute to the blues at Christmas-financial pressures-losses experienced over the years-Dark and cold weatherWhatever the cause, the reality is,For most of us there is a mixture of joy and sadness that comes with the HolidaysBSo, how do you deal with the blues when they come knocking?SCRIPTURE:One of the things that’s interesting to me is howthe Christmas story is full of people who were likely full of disappointment and loss…Elizabeth and Zechariah – relatives of Jesus and the parents of John the BaptistLuke 1:6-7Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.It wasn’t till an angel appeared to Zechariah in the temple and told him his prayer from years before had been heard that the pain of not being able to have a child was healed for them.-Tell me these two don’t know what’s like to be at a celebration and watch as everyone else family gets bigger each year-tell me they don’t know the pain of a longing that never gets fulfilled-I think these two would understand the blues you might have a Christmas-Elizabeth called it her “disgrace” in vs 25Or what about Simeon waiting at the temple – this man who God had promised he’d see the Messiah, we don’t know how long he waited to see that promise fulfilled, but he tells God He can dismiss him in peace – like saying, “now I can die”Simeon knows what it’s like to wait for a promise that seems like it’s never going to come…Or how about Anna, she was 84 years oldand she holds the baby Jesus in her arms and gives thanks to God – she a woman whose husband had died in in their youth…I’m telling you Christmas seems to be surrounded by people who knew what it was like to live in disappointment and loss.Something that struck me about every one of their stories is that in all of them,They were not abandonedBGod remembered themAnd God will remember you. BGod is a God of rememberingThe word remember is used 231 time in the NIV-God remembered Noah after the flood-God remember Abraham and so he rescued Lot-God remembered Rachel and she was able to conceive-God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and brought the Israelites out of Egypt-God remembered Hanna and allowed her to conceive Samuel-God remembered Cornelius and his gifts to the poor and brought Him the gift of salvationGod is a God with a long memoryILLUSTRATION:I have a little thing called, “Myopia”.  Myopia is when the light that enters into your eyeball can’t focus on your retina.  Instead of the light coming in and forming a perfect picture in your brain – you end up seeing a blurry image.  The closer something is to your eyes, the more in focus it becomes.  Most of us call this “nearsighted”. Literally, if you take my glasses off, I can only see about 4 inches in front of my face before I can see things. Here’s the problem for me[Have a coffee cup up on stage]When my glasses are off – in order for me to see anything, I have to put it in front of my face.  The problem is, I can’t see anything else, all I can see is the coffee cup in front of me.This is what depression is like for me.I’ve told you all before that I struggle with some depression.And the best way for me describe it is it becomes all you can think about or see.  It becomes myopic.It takes up all my field of visionOne of the big things depression can fool you into believing is that no one really cares or that nothing really matters-so you are in here, and hear me saying God remembers you and you think “so what, big deal”-all you can see is the coffee cup in front of you…But what if there was a way to push the coffee cup back-what if there was something you could do yourselfListen,Remembering goes both ways-it’s vital that you know God remembers you, but it’s just as important for you to remember HimFor you to remember all the things God has done in your lifeTo remember who He is and His characterTo remember His promisesOne of the most powerful things about remembering is that remembering helps to push back the moment and see the whole picture.Remembering puts things into perspectiveSo, what do you do – how do you remember?-Google “Promises of God Scriptures”-Document the good things (journal)-Read the Scripture-Spend time praying and ONLY give thanks-Tell the God stories of your life to othersCLOSING:Today, I want to close by reading you some words about God and helping push back the coffee cup in your life.  Allowing you to remember God and who He is – that there is no challenge that is too big for him:Isaiah 40:11-3111 He tends his flock like a shepherd:    He gathers the lambs in his armsand carries them close to his heart;    he gently leads those that have young.12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,    or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,    or weighed the mountains on the scales    and the hills in a balance?13 Who can fathom the Spirit[a] of the Lord,    or instruct the Lord as his counselor?14 Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him,    and who taught him the right way?Who was it that taught him knowledge,    or showed him the path of understanding?15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;    they are regarded as dust on the scales;    he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.16 Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires,    nor its animals enough for burnt offerings.17 Before him all the nations are as nothing;    they are regarded by him as worthless    and less than nothing.18 With whom, then, will you compare God?    To what image will you liken him?19 As for an idol, a metalworker casts it,    and a goldsmith overlays it with gold    and fashions silver chains for it.20 A person too poor to present such an offering    selects wood that will not rot;they look for a skilled worker    to set up an idol that will not topple.21 Do you not know?    Have you not heard?Has it not been told you from the beginning?    Have you not understood since the earth was founded?22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,    and its people are like grasshoppers.He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,    and spreads them out like a tent to live in.23 He brings princes to naught    and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.24 No sooner are they planted,    no sooner are they sown,    no sooner do they take root in the ground,than he blows on them and they wither,    and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.25 “To whom will you compare me?    Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.26 Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:    Who created all these?He who brings out the starry host one by one    and calls forth each of them by name.Because of his great power and mighty strength,    not one of them is missing.27 Why do you complain, Jacob?    Why do you say, Israel,“My way is hidden from the Lord;    my cause is disregarded by my God”?28 Do you not know?    Have you not heard?The Lord is the everlasting God,    the Creator of the ends of the earth.He will not grow tired or weary,    and his understanding no one can fathom.29 He gives strength to the weary    and increases the power of the weak.30 Even youths grow tired and weary,    and young men stumble and fall;31 but those who hope in the Lord    will renew their strength.They will soar on wings like eagles;    they will run and not grow weary,    they will walk and not be faint.If you are a follower of Christ – then I want you to remember today – this is not about you.  It is about Him and He is the everlasting God!