Nothing makes me beat my head against the wall more than trying to think of another creative way to tell the Christmas story. Christmas Eve is tomorrow and I’m preaching. I have felt the weight of this message for about a week now. It’s coming…
Am I ready?
Will this message make a difference?
Will they hate it? Will they love it?
Is it creative? Is it lame? Does it matter?
Do I do the “simple, straightforward” approach? Or should I do the more “creative, imaginative” approach?
It hit me today as I was reading through the account of Jesus’ birth in Luke 2 that there are truths in it for me. Four simple truths that serve as helpful reminders to those of us who preach. I want to share these because I think it will benefit you to keep them in mind as you preach your Christmas services this week.
In the passage, the angel comes to the shepherds and says these words: “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” This one little line says it all. If we apply what the angel communicates we’ll be well on our way to kicking the agony of obsessing over Christmas service prep.
Four truths from the Christmas story you should preach to yourself:
1. You don’t have to be afraid. “Fear not” The angel told the shepherds to not be afraid. Angels are frightening. You know what else is frightening? Sermon prep. Okay, so maybe not as scary as an angel talking with a thundrous voice and a beam of light, but still scary. But the angel tells the shepherds not to fear because Jesus is coming. There’s nothing to be afraid of.
We forget this. Don’t we? In our quest to make the Christmas story known. To convince others that it matters and means so much. We forget that God is in control and that we don’t have to fear. We don’t have to fret. We don’t have to worry. God has not given us a spirit of fear. Preaching from a place of fear is a dead-end road. In this article, I discuss how to avoid preaching from fear.
So preach with boldness this Christmas. There is nothing to be afraid of.
2. This is good news – seriously. “I bring you good news” Christmas is the story of the greatest news of all time. That God became a man. That he sought us out. That he decided to pursue is in our sin and provide a way to have relationship with him. This is amazing! It’s seriously good news. As you preach about it, remember this amazing truth. It’s the best news your listeners will ever hear. And you get the privilege of sharing it.
How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news. (Rom. 10:15)
3. It’s supposed to be joyful. “of great joy” This whole Christmas thing is supposed to be joyful. Don’t let preaching about it make you lose the joy in it. Get lost in the wonder of it all. Let that wonder come through in your preaching.
You can’t fake joy and wonder. Your people will see right through it. This means you have to let the joy of Jesus’ coming sink deep into your soul. You have to experience the joy before you can give it away. Joy is contagious. Spend some time with a joyful person and let it rub off on you. Then let others catch joy from you.
Whatever you have to do. Be joyful always as Paul says. Especially at your Christmas services when you’re preaching.
4. This is for everyone – including you. “for all people” Jesus, Christmas, egg nog, gifts, love, family, the joy of it all – it’s for you. It’s for all people. This includes you! You will proclaim this truth to others. You will point people to Jesus and ask them to trust him with their lives. You will tell others of the good news of great joy. But don’t forget that it’s for you too! You are a recipient of this gift.
Let that move you. Let it leave you in awe. And go preach your Christmas Eve service like you really believe this stuff.
It will make all the difference.
What other things do we who preach need to remind ourselves about Christmas?