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What in the World Was He Thinking?

Why would God leave His glory to come to our world as a baby in a manger, to be scorned, rejected, betrayed and nailed to a cross? To show us a love like none we have known or could imagine. One that redeems, restores what has been forever lost, banishes hopelessness... one worthy of celebrating not just on Christmas but every minute of our lives.

Todd WagnerDec 24, 2008

In This Series (10)
What in the World Was He Thinking?
Todd WagnerDec 24, 2008
A Biblical Look at Life, Letting Go and Leading Out: Why We Have to Run with the Herd
Todd WagnerDec 14, 2008
Family: The Need to Define it Rightly and Lead it Righteously
Todd WagnerDec 7, 2008
Worldviews Matter. Just Ask the Congo.
Todd WagnerNov 23, 2008
Success: The Right Ladder Against the Right Wall
Todd WagnerNov 16, 2008
Believers and Their Government: What Governs Our Usefulness in It
Todd WagnerNov 2, 2008
The Remedy for Redemption: The Final Framework of Truth
Todd WagnerOct 26, 2008
Explaining Evil: The Second Framework of Truth
Todd WagnerOct 19, 2008
The Creation Foundation: The First Framework of Truth
Todd WagnerOct 12, 2008
The Importance of the Foundations of the Heart
Todd WagnerOct 5, 2008

Here's the deal. There's a reason we're set up like this and I'm up here walking on dirt: because that is exactly what happened when Christ left the glory of his eternal abode and decided to inject himself into what is our humanity. Behind me, you have the best efforts of our most brilliant artists during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

We call it the Renaissance age, where art was restored and brought back to communicate in a way that we feel like is probably the penultimate communication of humankind through the arts. The Renaissance period is a glorified and much studied period in human expression through the arts. What you have is a compilation of some of those efforts.

Of course, on my far left and my far right, these two panels, you have Michelangelo's work, the Creation of Adam from the Sistine Chapel. Interrupting it in the middle behind me is an aggregation of stuff from Russian churches, from frescoes and ceiling works in Germany, all throughout Italy, and as I said, in the middle of the former Soviet Union.

What our arts team did is they put all of these together because I asked them to try to express behind me some means through which we could see how the most brilliant artists among us pictured the glory of where Christ eternally dwelt. When you think about what he did, the one who is described in the book of John…

In John, chapter 1, this is what it says: _ "In the beginning _ [before there was a beginning] _ was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him…" _ It's talking about Jesus here. We know back down in John 1:14 that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We know he's talking clearly about Christ, this Christ who always was.

Everything came into being through him. _ "…and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being." _ That means all of creation exists and stands at the beckoning of his will. Then it goes on to say, _ "In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men." _ There is no life apart from him. Life came through him and because of him and is sustained in him.

In this little Creation of Adam picture, we have God reaching across and inviting Adam into his glory. See, the one thing God cannot do is deny his very nature, and one of the things God is is love, so God had to create that which he was not so he could do that which he was. He brought into being that which did not exist so he could do what he was, which is love.

He wasn't lonely. God has eternally existed, he tells us, in community, in multiplicity. There is one God, but he exists eternally in three persons that are mutually distinct, eternally separate, but all eternally equal, glorious, and God. So the Scripture says that God created man, and he reached across and gave life. He invited that which did not exist into his glory, and he put Adam on earth in a place that could only be described as Eden, Paradise.

Adam enjoyed life with God as he walked with God, but, it says, even as man later did not recognize God when he showed back up, even when we were walking with God and enjoying God on earth in our initial form as created beings we did not recognize him as central to our lives. So the Scripture says that then, later, when Jesus came, the light came into the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.

There was another one who came to talk about the one who was to come, but he wasn't the Light. Verse 9 says the true Light is what came into the world in the person of Jesus Christ, and it's Christ which enlightens every man. _ "He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him." _

Because they looked at him and said, "You say you're God? Well, then why do you come from some no-account place like Nazareth? You say you're God? We know your history. You come from some illegitimate family origin. You say you're God? Then why are you a pauper? You say you're God? Then why are you a servant and not a king?"

Jesus said, "I have come to reveal myself to you in all my glory, but my glory is not going to be established the way you think my glory will be established: by coming with all kinds of pomp and circumstance. My glory is going to be established in who I am and as I reveal my purposes into this world that doesn't know who I am."

The message I want to communicate to you tonight is when you understand Christmas, when you understand the Word who was with God, who was God, when you understand light entering into darkness, when you understand Jesus coming from whatever that represents…glory in all its uninhibited magnificence without any compromise, with no darkness in the light, with no death in the life, with no sadness in the joy, with no disease in the health, with no betrayal in the love…to leave that to come to this

What in the world was he thinking? Why would he do that? Why would he come? Why would he leave glory for this? Why would he go to those he already created, gave everything to, who spit in his face and betrayed him, only to allow them to betray him again? Why would he come to the manger to walk on this earth and to make his way through this earth into adulthood where he communicated truth, where he brought light into our misinformed understanding of where life could be found, reminding men that life apart from God is no life at all?

Why would he allow men to reject him, to scoff at him, to mock him, to spit at him, to betray him, to turn him over and have this dirt road he was on lead to a cross? What was he thinking? The Scripture gives us a little bit of insight. It tells us that what he was thinking was that his glory, his true nature and character, could only be revealed through Christmas.

See, angels understood this, and when they who were with him in glory understood God's redemptive program of history, that the God who cannot deny himself created creatures to love and enjoy him… When those creatures left him, he said, "I'm going to show you what love looks like, a love that is unfamiliar to you," a love which, when God played out what love looks like, had a man marry a woman who would be unfaithful to him from the beginning and who would continue to be unfaithful to him even through the multiplying of children.

A prophet by the name of Hosea was told to marry a prostitute who would betray him, only that he would pursue her and take her back. You would go, "Hosea, what in the world are you thinking? Of all of the women to marry, why that one?" And he said, "Because my God is illustrating who you are to him. He has given me a love for her that will never end, a love this world is not familiar with, a world that doesn't even stick with those who are generally kind toward it and certainly doesn't stick with those who are evil and ungrateful men or evil and adulterous wives. But this is the love of God toward you."

Hosea is the same Hebrew name as Joshua, which is pronounced Yeshua, which in the Aramaic and Greek is pronounced Jesus, which means, in all languages, the Lord saves. I'll tell you what God was thinking. He left his eternal comfort of glory to come and walk on this earth to express to us what love really looks like, that love pursues, love initiates, love extends grace, love is merciful.

"But I am not only going to reveal my love. I'm not only going to reveal the majesty of my kindness; I'm going to reveal the majesty of my justice. There is no way for you, Adam, to restore yourself back to me, because you have offended an eternally glorious, perfect God, and the only way you can pay back that eternally glorious, perfect God is through an eternally glorious, perfect sacrifice, which you can never offer."

That's why God says, "Hey, your best works to me are like filthy rags. There's nothing you can bring me under the tree that would satisfy the betrayal you have created against me, but I love you, and I'm going to deal with that. I'm going to express love in a way that you can't recognize that you think is, frankly, scandalous, and I'm going to express justice in a way that satisfies my perfection."

Now I'm going to read to you probably the classic Christmas text, because it describes what he did and why he did it, and it also starts in this little text with what Christmas should produce in us. In other words, individuals who really understand Christmas should be people the world looks at and goes, "What are you thinking? Why do you live this way? No one lives this way. Why do you love this way? Nobody loves this way."

And we should say, "Do you know who loves this way? God loves this way. And do you know who I am? I am Adam who has run away from God, and God has reached across glory to experience death on earth that he might reconnect with me, expressing his love to me, satisfying his justice before me, and reconnecting me to him. Do you know who I am? I am somebody who understands Christmas, and I am learning to love as I have been loved, and I am learning to forgive as I have been forgiven, and I am learning to reconcile as I have been reconciled with."

Here it is. This is what Jesus did, and we are called to follow him. If you understand Christmas, Philippians 2:3-5 are your life verses. The problem is I am still trying to understand Christmas, so there is a shadow of Philippians 2:3-5 manifest in me, and it's increasing the more Christmas increases in my heart, the more Christ reigns in my heart.

_ "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God _ [because he was God]_ , did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped _ [held on to as if his life depended on it]_ , but emptied Himself…" _

What does it mean that he emptied himself? What it means is that he no longer allowed his life to be governed by the fact that he was God. He said, "I'm going to put aside the fact that I am God, and I'm going to be made in the likeness of a man, and being found in the appearance of a man, I will humble myself. I'm not going to come with pomp and circumstance. I'm not going to be born into worldly perceived royalty. I am going to come as a child."

A child rejected even by his own family from the no-account town of Nazareth, with no room even in his family dwelling so that he was probably downstairs where the animals were brought in at night on cold nights. There was no place to lay the baby upstairs where the family slept, so he's downstairs with his mother and father and probably in one of the little manger stalls the animals ate out of.

From that no-account beginning, pursued by a terrorist in a period of genocide from his earliest days, he enters into a world of death and betrayal, and he walks on that trail of faithfulness until he can reveal to men truth. But the story doesn't stop there. It says he continued to humble himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Then Paul says:

_ "For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus _ _ every knee will bow __ , of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." _

This is what Christmas is about. "What are you thinking, God?" This is what the angels knew. So they went to shepherds. The job of a shepherd is to never leave sheep. Under no condition do you leave sheep, because they're not typically your sheep; you're a steward of those sheep. The angels showed up and said, "Look, man. This one is worth losing your job over, because you won't believe what the King of Glory has done. He has come, and he's over here, and he's in a manger, of all places. It is God your Creator. He has come, and we don't know what he's thinking."

The Scripture says the angels had no idea what God was going to reveal. They had no idea what his plan was. They had no idea how good he was in reality. They knew from observing that God was more glorious than anything they could ever put in their finite minds, but God said, "I'm going to show you my glory at work, and love looks like this: when you're rejected, when you're spit upon, when you're mocked, you pursue.

You don't let them do what they can to do the best they can to reconcile with you; you go and make provision for them. You love adulterers. You love unfaithful ones. You forgive the unforgivable, and you make provision for them, if they come to their senses, to be reconnected to the Word who is life. The only way I could satisfy my holy character is to have a holy and complete eternal sacrifice laid out before them."

For a long time, God had people sacrifice bulls and goats as a reminder that the wages of sin is death, but he said, "Make no mistake about it. These bulls and goats don't appease me. They are a picture of the fact that innocent blood must be shed to take away sins, but you're going to need a perfect lamb, a lamb of God," which is how Jesus was first identified. "Behold, the Lamb of God who comes to take away the sins of the world."

Jesus says, "I am that perfect sacrifice, because I existed before that manger, and from that manger to this cross there was nary a blemish on me. I am going to have the wrath of God poured out on me so that my justice is satisfied so that those who are far can be brought near if they'll just acknowledge their need for the gift." What this story is about is the fact that light came into the darkness.

The prophet Isaiah long ago said, _ "The people who walk in darkness _ [the people who have turned away from the light] _ will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them." _ They're going to understand truth, and all of a sudden, grace is going to come flooding in. It says, "This child will multiply a nation who will experience the light. They will increase continually in their gladness. They will be glad in the presence of your glory, as with the gladness of harvest, as when men rejoice when they divide the spoil."

In other words, the pirate who came and plundered and took away our kingship from us… The one who has come has taken out the pirate and restored us to our place of prosperity. "He broke the yoke of the burden and the staff that was on the shoulders to suppress us. The rod of the oppressor, as at the battle of Midian, was shattered. For every boot of the booted warrior of the battle tumult and cloak rolled in blood will be for burning, fuel for the fire."

In other words, there is no more war, because it is finished because of this God who has come this Christmas. This child who is born to us, this Son who is going to be given to us… The government will rest on his shoulders. In other words, all prosecution of evil and all protection against terror will be satisfied through this child when his throne is established.

And his name will be called Wonderful. Adam will see him as his counselor. Adam will know him to be Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace who has brought his peace to the world; therefore, there will be no end to the increase of his protection against evil and no end to his increase of prosecution against terror.

"There will be peace on the throne of David over all his kingdom. He will be the one who establishes and upholds it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore, for the zeal of the Lord will accomplish this." The angels, the Scripture says, long to look into what God's program in history was.

"What in the world is he thinking? Oh my goodness! He has left his throne to go to a manger. What is he thinking? He has left the manger to go and teach. He's letting them reject him. What is he thinking? He's letting them spit on him. What is he thinking? He's letting them whip him. What is he thinking? He's letting them call him guilty. What is he thinking? He is on a cross. What in the world is he thinking? He has been crucified. What is he thinking?"

He has satisfied the wages of sin, which is death. He has glorified. He offers his sacrifice for them. What is this King thinking? This God became man to restore man back to God. Folks, that is Christmas. Can I tell you how I prayed for you tonight? I prayed this specific way. I prayed that your cardboard would flip. You're going to go, "What in the world does that mean?"

Well, you're about to see, in about as clear a way as I can tell you, why he did what he did. I pray you go from the kingdom of darkness and flip to the kingdom of light, that you see things with a different clarity, that you understand what he was thinking. Folks, this is why we sing. This is why the angels showed up and said, "Hey, man, you wouldn't believe what's going on over here in this manger. God has left the throne, and he has come. We're not really sure what he's going to do, but he is there, and you need to go check him out."

They've never stopped singing. Their song has just gotten louder. And guess what: that's what happens to everybody who understands Christmas. They keep singing because they've come out of darkness into light, and he has put a new song in their hearts. If you're here tonight, I pray your cardboard flips when you understand the glory of Christmas.

[Song]

Wow! That's what he was thinking. That is why he reached across this to get to that. That's why he left this for that and walked on this toward that. Come on back out here, guys. Hold your signs back up. Just a few of these folks were here the first service, but every service is just new folks up here flipping their boards. I thought, "Oh man! Those folks are coming at 5:00. I wish they could have seen the cardboard at 3:00," and God goes, "Hey, bro, I have more cardboards flipped than you have time for."

Do you know what's so sick about stupid, dead mediocrity? Who had that one sign, "Raised in mediocrity"? Yeah. Vanilla Christianity. We go to Christmas Eve services. We sit in those sanctified things. We're polite and we're good, and we get back home to our same kind of mediocre, dysfunctional, vanilla ways, and we're bored to death, and we go then to another Sunday to sit through a dead service.

Let me tell you something. Christmas isn't dead. Christmas flips lives. Do you know what he was thinking? He didn't think, "Hey, I'm going to do this, and I can get a bunch of people to join clubs around the world where they sit and be polite and are bored to death and give a little bit of money and put my name on the outside." That's not what he was thinking! He was thinking this.

He was thinking about taking folks who go, "You know what? I always thought I'd get married like everybody else, and I'm discouraged that I'm not," and watching Susan live a life of generosity and professional excellence and kindness that I am humbled by every time I see her. He pulls guys out of dead churches and puts them into live ones. He takes broken, crazy lives and brings them back to a place where she's yoked to her husband again.

From controlling, selfish, awkward, abused, depressed, lonely, fearful, life-destroying, alone and broken, scared because of Mom and Dad, cursed by sin and disease, scared to death, sexually abused, unworthy, unlovable, lost in a different worldview, crushed by foolish choices, and he flips them. That's what he does, and he produces this. That is Christmas! That's what he does. I'm telling you, folks, that is why we sing "Joy to the World."

I am so sick of dead religion, but I never want to stop celebrating this. I never want to stop. If you're sitting out there tonight and you thought you were just going to come to another Christmas Eve service, well, what were you thinking? We don't want to just do another little dead, mundane, polite, sanctified service. I want to go, "Christ has come! Leave your sheep. Lose your jobs. Follow him, and he can change you. Heck, Adam, that judgment you were due? It has been paid, and he can restore what has been forever lost if you're left on your own."

Folks, that is Christmas. If you've never gotten your arms around it before, I want to invite you from the manger to the cross tonight, to kneel before the throne to the one whose name is going to be exalted in a way that the world won't miss, because make no mistake: there's going to be another Christmas, but this time he's not going to come as a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes; he's going to come as the King of all governments, as the Prince of Peace, and you're going to bow.

You may as well bow as a loyal subject and not as one who is ready to experience the fullness of the wrath which you will not be able to endure, yet in his infinite glory he will sustain you so you can endure it in a way that can only be described as hellish. He invites you tonight to come and to flip your sign of indifference, to flip your sign of selfishness and abuse and to be healed and to start singing "Joy to the World." Hallelujah! Which means "I will praise him."

Do you know what I'm praying is going to happen here at this community? That in a few years we're going to have some kids… My little girl Ally is in tenth grade. Her class, all of her buddies, are going to be the very first group that went all the way through what we're doing here together as a group of families that aren't just dragging our kids to church. We're following Jesus, and we are the church.

I hope one day up here is going to be a cardboard sign that says, "Raised in a home that by the grace of God taught me that he was loving, modeled by parents that he's a good and loving God, who in all their brokenness confessed their brokenness before me and told me he was a King worth following," and they'll flip their cardboard that says, "And by his grace I followed him since I was young, and I've never known abortion, loneliness, rejection, abuse, premarital sex, hopelessness, control, and anger, because God has been good to me from the beginning." Gang, that's a story.

If you're sitting out there and you go, "No wonder they didn't put me on stage. I don't have something spectacular…" If you know Jesus, it's spectacular, and you have to walk around with that sign and say, "For whatever reason, by the grace of God, I was born into truth. I had to receive that truth personally in a way that transformed me at 5, at 15, but the covenant of grace was around me, and it protected me from stupidity." That's what he was thinking. He loves little children like me. God bless you, guys. Thank you so much. You made my Christmas.

What that King was thinking is that we would gather like this. Our King was thinking there would be a time when your cardboard flipped; when you left the kingdom of darkness and came to the kingdom of light and you really understood that, you would personally stand before men one day and say, "Hey, my life has changed. It's no longer I who live but Christ lives in me. That life of judgment… And it wasn't as bad as others, but it was bad enough to be judged.

It offended him, because I was an Adam who turned away from him. I've come to him, so you can identify me with his death, burial, and resurrection to new life. So by the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, I purpose to live new and afresh before him." God calls every single one of us at some point in our lives to say, "My life is flipped. I'm no longer believing that my way is the way. I believe Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and that no man comes to the Father except by him. I am a Christ follower and a part of his church and family."

Then he gives us an opportunity to do that corporately, and guess what we've done. We've dumbed it down to some sanctified little thing that in some little way we're scared we're going to spill it. We've even told people it's some miraculous transubstantiation where it actually becomes the shed blood and broken body of Jesus. Gang, it doesn't, because Christ is not continually offered again and again as some sacrifice for you. It is finished!

But he says, "Remember me. As often…" I really believe whenever believers gather… I had breakfast this morning with six guys who get together, who have walked with Christ together for 20 to 30 years. When we broke bread in the morning over pancakes and eggs, we communed. The juice we drank was not wine, like at every Middle Eastern meal. We had coffee. There was not matzah; it was pancakes, but we communed.

When we bless it, we are reminded of why we love each other and our lives are under grace. That is the idea of Communion. It was to be a celebration meal. Not this little "Be good. You're in church. Shh! Communion," but a celebration of this. Christ has come. So I invite you to the Table, the Table of forgiveness, the Table of reconciliation, the Table of life again, because God Almighty has left that to come across this to reach you.

Here is our belief. The Scriptures teach that anybody who is a follower of Jesus Christ who has confessed that they were darkness and rejected his light until his light flooded in and transformed you and saved you, and you receive that light as a gift… He says, "Anybody who has done that can share at my Table and share in the joy of being in my family."

I want you to know there is no magic grace coming through the elements. There is grace in what the elements represent. His name is Jesus, and he was born to save you. If you know that and he is your Savior, take the elements. In fact, the Scripture warns you if you haven't a relationship with Christ, all you do is eat and drink to your judgment, acknowledging that there is a Savior but thinking that through some sanctified little religious act you can appease him.

He doesn't want you to appease him; he wants you to know him. If you know him, be reminded around tables with friends that his body was broken to give you spiritual food, that his blood was shed to draw you near, a new covenant for you. It all started some 2,000 years ago on a night that was unlike any other night. It was wholly different. We call it a holy night.

The angels couldn't believe he left that to go there. They weren't sure where he was going next, but they kept singing and they kept watching, and they'll never stop singing, because they saw that he went to a cross. When they saw that he made provision for Adam to come near and flip and be joined again to life, they kept singing, and we're to remind each other until he returns what he has done.

I think you do that every time you have a meal with believers. I really do. We're having a spiritual meal tonight, so we're going to remember through little tiny elements, wafer bread and juice that if you let it ferment would turn into wine, but tonight it's not. So if you know Christ or if you want to receive him and declare that he is your King and for the first time you get Christmas, come, and make it your profession of faith.

Take Communion, and then walk up and say, "All right. I've done the corporate song. When do I sing my solo at baptism? Because I want to follow him, because my life has flipped." There is nothing greater to give to your King who gave you this gift the first Christmas than to give him your life back this one. If you know Christ or want to come to him, make this your moment. Guys, if you distribute the elements, as the rest of us just hold them, we'll take them together as we meditate on what happened this holy night.

[Song]

That song says it as well as it can be said apart from Scripture. It talks about how on this divine night, with sin and error pining and having their way, God interrupted. I'll tell you what. The world has never gotten over it, and his people are never to get over it. He told you, in fact, every time you eat (which is, for many of us, three or more times a day when you're with other folks), remind yourself of what he has done. Let your physical hunger, as it's satisfied with his provision, be a reminder of the spiritual provision.

Jesus said it at the Passover meal, which was a celebration meal of the exodus from bondage to freedom. This is when he instituted this. He said, "Hey, we have a new deal coming. The Passover thing? There's nothing wrong with it, but it's just not the primary reminder of my goodness anymore. This bread, this unleavened, un-yeast-affected bread, is my sinless body which will be broken for you. As often as you eat that, be reminded of God's perfect provision for your great spiritual need." The body of Christ, broken for you.

And the cup. The cup at the end was called the Elijah cup, which was the cup of anticipation of a deliverer who was going to come who was even greater than Moses, the one who led the exodus. There's a guy coming who's going to talk about the Lamb of God who will take away the sins of the world. That Passover lamb that was sacrificed, that you put blood from that little door basin up on the top and up on the left and up on the right…

Oh my goodness! A cross was just formed in blood on the door of every Jewish household that had faith in the Passover lamb thousands of years before the crucifixion was even a means of death and judgment. Oh my gosh! The people who hid behind the blood of the cross then on an imperfect lamb… "There's a day coming when there will be…right now, me, my blood…the perfect Lamb of God shed for you, that you might have judgment pass over you and you can come into life." That's the cup. The blood of Christ, shed for you. Oh, that's sweet.

I have to tell you, this should be more like an Irish bar than a Roman church. It ought to be. It ought to be, "Cheers to that one, man!" That offends some of you. Do you know why? Raised in mediocrity and vanilla Christianity. This is Christmas, man! The angels go, "Unbelievable!" I have to admit, the reason I am not more changed is because I don't get it, and I'm trying to get it.

My kids know I don't get it enough all the time, but I'm trying to get it, and I'm around other people who are lifting the mug of forgiveness with me. We're flipping our cardboard, and we're charging into families tonight to forgive folks who need to be forgiven, to reconcile with spouses we have hurt, to be present with children we have abandoned, to deal with materialism and comfort through possessions that's in our hearts so we can say a light has come among men.

We end our services here this way. There's a candle right here. If it was surrounded by four others in a wreath we'd call it an Advent candle, and it's when Christ comes. It comes from the Latin word which means to come. Christ has come, so what we're going to do is we're going to make this room pitch dark. So stay seated, please.

We're going to start with a sweet little child who's going to come and light that candle and is going to start lighting other candles, and when your candle is lit, you light everybody you can around you. You can walk and light whoever you want right around here. If you can't stand that you see darkness in the room, get your tail up and walk and light some darkness. It's a great picture of who we ought to be: people who have experienced light who want to share the song of what has happened.

Folks, this silent night 2,000 years ago is not supposed to be kept a secret, and we are to go tell it. So let's start with this metaphor of light overcoming the darkness because the darkness can't comprehend this kind of Christmas. May this be a picture of what happens as this room moves back into Dallas, Texas, and the rest of the world. Amen? All right. When your candle is lit, light others and stand and sing with us. Here we go.

[Song]

Every year I have to tell the ushers, because they all panic and start lighting candles in the back, and all of a sudden, from some unknown place, light starts to come the other direction. I go, "Don't do that." There is only one place the light can come from. I know there are other ideas. They're false lights. There's one light. It has to come from this one. Otherwise it's a false light. It's going to go out.

But how did it feel up there? There are kids in the middle who are ticked off that their parents go, "My candle just got lit. All of those guys have been having fun down there for hours." You feel like that up there, don't you? Like, "Bring it!" I want to tell you, that is the picture. There are people you're going to walk all around, and they are like, "Bring it! If there is truth in Christmas, bring it. Flip your cardboard around me."

Tell your story this weekend. Tell it at work. "Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere." Do you see where that song comes from? This is not to be a silent community. You are to sing forever. (And when you leave, you're to blow your candles out that are in your hand and drop them off so we can do this again at 11:00.) You are to make sure you carry the song, because on a holy night a long time ago, joy came to the world and darkness was flipped to light. To you I say: Merry Christmas. Go tell it on the mountain. God bless you guys.


About 'What in the World are You Thinking?'

How do you look at the world? What influences your perspective on the challenges and people you interact with every day? In this 10-part series, Todd Wagner explains why your worldview ? the lens you look at the world through ? matters. You?ll discover what it means to have a biblical worldview, and how our failure to look at the world through God?s "lens" impacts our lives, culture and our world.