A lady told her husband that she had dreamed that he had bought her a diamond necklace for Christmas! The husband responded positively to her dream by bringing her a beautifully wrapped gift. As she eagerly tore open the wrapping to see her diamond necklace, all she found was a little book. It was titled, ‘How to interpret your dreams’!
Christmas is a difficult period for a lot of people, for as they look back over the year, they may see many dreams that have not been fulfilled. The present too, may be discouraging, with shortages of finances & food & maybe other difficulties like being retrenched or maybe even a death in the family. It is well known that a lot of people go through depression in December & some even commit suicide, because they can’t seem to identify with the celebratory Christmas spirit around them that somehow seems to have eluded them. Country legend Merle Haggard sang, ‘If we make it through December, everything is gonna be alright I know’. The song speaks about a father who has just lost his job at the factory & he’s wondering how he can make Christmas special for his little daughter.
As I was studying the Christmas story in the scriptures a few years ago, It struck me as to how many times, dreams & visions are mentioned around this great event. As a result, God, I believe, led me to put this sermon together to give hope to people at Christmas time. David Wilkerson once said, ‘never underestimate the power of a dream’.
Proposition: God can fulfill a dream for you this Christmas season.
I would like to share about 4 types of dreams God gave around the time of our Lord’s birth & his early days. I believe He can minister to you in one or more of these areas. They are,
1) A dream of assurance
When Joseph received the news of Mary’s pregnancy, he would have been a shattered man! He also would have felt deeply rejected by the love of his life. His world would have been turned upside down! But, in this moment of despair, God gave him a dream of assurance (Matthew 1:20). An angel appeared in a dream & said “Joseph …, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife…”. As a result, Joseph went from the scenario of a possible divorce, to being the earthly father of the Messiah!
Luke tells us that not only Joseph, but Mary also received a prophetic assurance through Elizabeth (Luke 1:42)
Maybe you are facing Christmas, feeling shattered or rejected, due to prevailing circumstances in your life at present. Be encouraged however to know that, as He did for Joseph, God can give you, ‘A dream of assurance’, this Christmas.
Illustration: Close to 2 years ago, my world was shattered overnight when I noticed something was wrong with my vision. Upon checking it out, I found that the Retina on my left eye had detached & that the vision on that eye was at its lowest. A Surgeon I consulted told me that I needed immediate surgery & as I prepared for the surgery with a lot of concern, God gave me assurance that He will bring me through. It came through the following lyrics of the well loved song “In Christ Alone”.
‘From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand’
Thankfully, through God’s unfailing grace & power and the skill of the Surgeon, I came through the crisis well. I’m doing good today, with most of my vision restored.
God has a ‘dream of assurance for you’.
2) A dream of warning
In Matthew 2:12, we are told that the wise men were warned in a dream ‘ not to go back to Herod’ & in Matthew 2:13, Joseph was warned in a dream to take his family & leave for Egypt. Once again, God was speaking through dreams!
Some of us could be needing a warning from the Lord during the season, maybe because of a poor decision about to be made or maybe because the path we are taking is going to be detrimental. Or could it be that He’s warning us about a sin that can cause damage to us & our family. So, ‘If God bolts a door, don’t try to jump in through a window’! He may well be telling you to ‘go another way’. As much as the GPS in your vehicle re-routes you when you take a wrong turn, could God be re-routing the direction you are traveling in? If so, be sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Illustration: Many years ago, I read in a magazine of a young lady who on Christmas eve, had placed herself in a tempting situation which could have led to sin. It so happened that there was a church down the adjoining lane & the Pastor, who was a lady, had insisted that the cross in the church be lit up every evening. As this young lady was facing this temptation, the light on the cross was suddenly switched on, & as the light cut through the night mist & illuminated the cross, she realized that God was sending her a warning. She got out of that situation real fast & saved herself from what could have been a bad decision.
Is God giving you a ‘dream of warning’ this Christmas season?
3) A dream of guidance
Everyone needs guidance, not only during the Christmas season, but also to face the new year that is fast approaching. We need guidance as individuals, as families & even as churches. Let’s remember that guidance, through dreams, was very much a part of the Christmas story & the events that followed!
For instance, Joseph was guided to Egypt for safety, through a dream (Matthew 2:13), then guided back to Israel after Herod’s death through a dream (Matthew 2:19), and thereafter he received guidance to settle down in Nazareth, also in a dream (Matthew 2:22-23)! Much of this ‘dreamy’ guidance was also fulfilling prophecies regarding the Messiah!
Like Joseph, for those who may feel that God’s guidance has maybe taken you through some rough paths, its good to remind ourselves that ‘If God takes us on stony paths, He will give us strong shoes’!
Illustration: Apparently, when Lewis Redner was asked to compose a melody for ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’, for a church program, no inspiration came to him. However, on the night before the event, he had what seemed like a dream. He mentioned, ‘I was roused out of my sleep, late in the night, by an angelic strain whispering in my ear’. Lewis Redner awoke immediately & wrote down the melody line he had heard in his dream & the rest is history! He called it ‘a gift from heaven’.
God wants to give you a ‘dream of guidance’ at Christmas time. Part of that guidance may involve being a blessing to others during the season.
4) A dream (vision) of the miraculous
Two miraculous births happened around the same time. One began with the announcement of the pregnancy of Elizabeth (Luke 1:13), who was barren & old (Luke 1:7). The news came through an angelic visitation & it led to the birth of John. The other of course, was the miraculous birth of the Lord Jesus, also revealed through an angelic visitation (Luke 1:26-35)! In both instances, God did the impossible for “Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1;37)!
‘The day of miracles is not past, because the God of miracles is still present’!
So many people are in need of a miraculous touch from the Lord. Let’s lift them up to the Lord in prayer at Christmas time, knowing that we too can experience the same.
Let’s also not forget that the birth of the Lord Jesus was also a miraculous gift from God for the sins of the entire world. Truly, ‘No gift is more needed by a dying world than a life-giving Savior’!
So, trust God for a ‘dream of the miraculous’ this Christmas season.
In closing, let me encourage you to look to the Lord for 1 or more of these dreams during December. It may be a ‘dream of assurance’, a ‘dream of warning’, a ‘dream of guidance’ or a ‘dream of the miraculous’. As God reveals himself to you, be sure to move according to His Word.
Have a blessed Christmas!
Image courtesy: Robciu Anaski