The Clause of Christmas (Christmas at the Movies – The Santa Clause)

Title: The Clause of Christmas
Series: Christmas at the Movies – The Santa Clause
Scripture: Isaiah 8:19-9:7
Theme(s): belief, need, promise, future, provision, light, freedom

Scott Calvin is a man like most of us. He is too busy or too distracted. He is trying hard to make things work on his own, but he just keeps messing up.

There is a clause in his Christmas. There is a clause in our Christmas. Only one man can be our savior.

  1. There was a specific need – living in darkness.
  2. There were specific requirements – lifting burdens.
  3. There was (is) a specific answer – Jesus.
  4. There is a specific response from us – belief & faith.

ImageSpecific Need

Isaiah warns the people to not consult mediums and spiritists. They were turning to everyone but God. They were not coming to God first if at all. They were lost in a darkness, a darkness of confusion. They were asking the dead about life. They were essentially asking darkness about light.

What is the problem with asking the “mediums and spiritists and the dead” about life? It is simple. They do not have the right answer. They are not the right people with the right information. They do not fit the bill. They do not measure up. They do not meet the need.

From the way Scott Calvin was living, he had a specific need as well. He needed a “life change.” He needed a change of direction. Basically, he was lost in his own personal “darkness.” He was trying to fill his life with work and success. He needed a different outfit. He needed a big, red suit.

We find ourselves at times in that same situation. We are lost and looking for answers in all of the wrong places. We keep turning to those who do not have the answers. We turn to substances that enslave our hearts and minds. We try to fill the void with relationships that fail us. We try to fill the void with false beliefs and incomplete messages. We have a specific need that nothing else will fill.

Specific Requirement

Within their need, they had a very specific requirement. They were carrying a burden that was too much to bear. There was oppression that they could not deal with. It was too much for them. It was too big for them, too heavy for them. This oppression, this burden, was keeping the people in distress. They were depressed and living in a “fearful gloom,” a dimness of anguish. There was a “shadow of death” upon them.

What was oppressing them? What was keeping them down and in distress? It was the absence of a savior. By themselves, they were not enough. They had a need for something or someone bigger and stronger than they were. They needed someone to lift the burden from their shoulders.

Headed the way he was, Scott Calvin was not going anywhere, but down! He was allowing the things of life to take over his life. He needed a new direction and a more positive outlook. He needed something or someone to break him out of what become. On his own, he was stuck where he was. He needed something stronger than himself. He needed a power to break through to him.

Life has a way of pressing us into a mold that we were never meant to fit into. Often, this is not what is good for us or the way God intended for us to be. Unlike Scott Calvin, the “magic” of Christmas is not what we need. The belief in Santa Claus is what creates the special holiday magic. For us, the power was created through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, not separate, but together. Jesus broke through the barrier of death through his resurrection. There is now nothing that should scare us when we are in Christ. Death has no sting! Amen! Jesus meets all of the requirements we need for a savior.

Specific Answer

Because of this darkness and heavy burden, there could only be one answer. There could only be one solution to this crisis. There could only be one way, one truth, and one life. There could only be one person who could meet the need.

Jesus was not sent to the earth because God wanted to. He was sent to the earth because God had tried everything else and He had sent everyone else and He had given every other opportunity. But, we as a people rejected everything and everyone and every opportunity that He sent our way. He sent His best, His only begotten, His one and only. He sent His First-born, His Right Hand, the Heir to the throne. He sent His best for our worst!

In our movie, when Santa Claus fell off the roof, Scott Calvin was left with a choice. He could have moved on but he chose to get involved. He eventually chooses to become part of the story, part of the solution, part of the happy ending.

Jesus is the right answer! Jesus is the reason for the season! He should be first in our lives! There may be many other options in front of us, but Christ is the only correct answer! In the KJV, it says “the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.” He is going to rule it all. He is the right answer! The only, specific answer to our need!

Specific Response

Christ is the answer, the only answer. He is what can fill the void in our lives and lift the heavy burdens. He can set us free and give us our sight! But, we have to accept Him into our lives! We need to respond. We need to recognize our need and invite him to make a difference and “life change” in us. Jesus, Emmanuel, is here with us but we have to accept it.

The problem is belief. There is not a much belief and faith anymore. We have become disheartened and unfeeling. We have become calloused to the miraculous around us. We have lost the ability to see the power behind the veil. We have lost the appreciation for the mystery of the power of God. We have to see it to believe it. We have to reach out and touch it to accept it. We are the ultimate “doubting Thomases.” We are surrounded by the grace and power of the living Christ but we have to feel for ourselves.

The Santa Claus at its’ root story is very similar to many Christmas stories. No one believes in anything anymore. No one believed that he was actually becoming Santa Claus. They could not accept it because they did not understand it. They could not quantify it. They could not measure it. They could not comprehend it.

The “Clause of Christmas” is that we need to believe in the power of God to meet our needs. Not just during Christmas, but He meets our needs all year long! Charlie said to Neil, “Just because you can’t see something, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.” I am saying the same thing to you, brothers and sisters. Just because you can’t see God and how He is working, it doesn’t mean that He doesn’t exist. He is sufficient to meet our every need, no matter how big or small. He fulfills all of the requirements that we need in a savior. He is the true answer to our situations. He is all the Jesus that we need!

Walking the Darkened Path (2012 Good Friday)

Title: Walking the Darkened Path
Series: Walking the Roads of Easter (Good Friday)
Scripture: Luke 23: 1-49
Theme(s): Walking the right path even in the face of adversity

Jesus walked without company
Jesus walked without blame
Jesus walked without complaint
Jesus walked without support
Jesus walked for you and me

On Good Friday, Jesus chose to walk a darkened path. He walked a path through hatred, selfishness, politics, deception, and jealousy.

• Greeted like a champion on Palm Sunday and days later ignored.
• Shunned and condemned by the religious leaders of the day, the very people who were the supposed followers of the Father.
• Betrayed by Judas, a close confidant.
• Abandoned by the disciples, His closest followers.
• Denied by Peter, one of the “inner circle”
• Passed over by the crowds when they shouted for His life in exchange for Barabbas’ pardon.

We have all known the shock of betrayal, the wounds of denial, the stigma of being shunned, the pain of abandonment, and the utter loss of being passed over for another.

Jesus walked the darkened path without company.

• Accused falsely of instructing other to not pay their taxes. The religious leaders knew that Rome did not care about their petty religious squabbles, but taxes, money, that was a different matter.
• Pilate did not find any fault with Him and passed Him on to Herod.
• Herod could not find any blame, but used Him to gain favor with Pilate (v. 12). He was used for political gain.
• He was released by Rome, but condemned by Israel
• Sold for one criminal, and hung between two others.

Jesus walked the darkened path without blame.

• He never boasted or bragged about who He was or what He had done.
• He answered the questions simply and directly, and later gave up answering at all.
• They mocked Him and mistreated Him.
• They sold Him in exchange for the life of a known terrorist and murderer (v. 18).
• He asked for their forgiveness, not their punishment (v. 34).
• They stole His possessions and gambled them away (v. 34b).
• He was insulted and ridiculed (v. 35).
• He showed compassion to others when He was receiving none Himself (v. 43).
• He was innocent and everyone from Pilate (v. 14) to the common soldier (v. 47) knew it.

Jesus walked the darkened path without complaint.

• No one defended Him, even when He defended others.
• No one supported Him, even as He lifted others up.
• No one protected Him, while He was protecting all of us.
• Pilate had a chance and gave in to social pressure (v. 22).
• Herod could have stopped it but chose the easier and more acceptable way (v. 11).
• The crowds followed after Him but did not lift a finger (v. 27). They wept for Him, but never argued for Him.

Jesus walked the darkened path without support.

He walked where we could not, would not, and did not want to go.
We stand on this side of Calvary and condemn the religious leaders for their choices and their lies, and we are not very different.
• Do we not still mock His name?
• Do we not still take Him for granted?
• Do we not still gamble our lives, His possessions, away?
• Do we not still betray Him?
• Do we not still falsely accuse Him, blame Him, lie to Him, try to deceive Him?
• Do we not still take the easier path to avoid accepting responsibility?
While we were still consumed by our sin, Jesus died for us. Despite what we’ve done, God still chooses to love us and sent His son so He could be with us. That’s what one can call incredible grace.