Christmas at the Movies: Grief, John Candy, Christmas, and Hospitality

1353137396_5259_Planes-Trains-and-Automobiles1So on Sunday we opened up a bit of a difficult topic, but a needed one: grief at Christmas.

The truth is that for some people who have experienced loss, whose families are in shambles, or who struggle with debt, Christmas is a really difficult time. While others are celebrating they are seeking to hold it together. And it’s not honestly a topic many people even acknowledge. And this makes it even worse for those who are hurting the feel worse than being ignored, they feel non-existent.

But here is the thing: the first Christmas was coupled with grief too. There is the story in Matthew of violence, and killing initiated by Herod. So the very first Christmas also had times of intense joy for some, and times of intense sadness. But we tend to ignore this part of the story. But if we ignore this part of the story, we tend to ignore those around us with that story. If we don’t acknowledge that the first Christmas had difficulty we don’t acknowledge those with difficult in this Christmas.

So we landed on this main point on Sunday. We cannot ignore the hurting during Christmas. We cannot ignore those struggling with loss, hurt, broken relationships, or deep debt and need. when we ignore the darkness of life, we end up ignoring people trapped in it. But nothing could be further from the meaning of Christmas. Jesus entered the world as light, to bring hope to those in the dark. And we need to do the same.

So we challenged people to actually be like Neal in the end of the movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Neal notices that Dell has been hiding his hurt. But he doesn’t ignore him, but invites him into his home and his life – carrying his baggage both metaphorically and literally.

The point isn’t that we lessen the joy we find around Christmas if we are doing well. The point is to invite those struggling into our joy at Christmas. So we closed with this challenge. Reach out to someone this week for whom Christmas might be difficult. Because that’s what Christmas is about, going out to those who are in the dark and hurting and bringing light and love. That’s what Jesus did when he entered our world, may we do that and enter the world’s of those around us.

Sermon Notes:

Big IdeaWe can’t ignore the hurting during Christmas.

Teaching Points:

  • Christmas isn’t easy for everyone.
  • The Christmas story has both Light, and beauty, and transcendence and also death, difficulty, darkness, and grief.
  • We, as a culture, avoid grief, death, and difficulty.
  • We can’t forget the darkness and hurt in the story.
  • When we ignore the darkness of life, we end up ignoring people trapped in it.
  • We can’t ignore the hurting because Jesus didn’t ignore these people.

Adult Discussion Questions:

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? What was new? How do we tend to ignore those with struggles in our culture? How can we support those who are struggling? Are there those that you know that you can support? What can you do to “carry their baggage” into your home like Neal?

Discussion Questions / Responses for Young Families

This week talk to your kids about supporting others during Christmas. Ask them if there is anyone you, as a family should support? Kids often have greater eyes to see this than we might.

Challenge for the Week: Reach out to someone this week for whom Christmas might be difficult.

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