One of the downsides of spending the last 24 years preaching at only 2 churches (14.5 in Cedar Rapids, now closing in on 9.5 in Sioux City) is that preaching over the holidays gets to be a little difficult. My people have heard pretty much every sermon I’ve got in my arsenal, some of them twice! So, the Christmas season is coming and I’m looking for some fresh ideas and new perspectives on seasonal sermons. Here’s some of my observations and thoughts about Christmas preaching:
1) Many of you in the younger whippersnapper crowd eschew preaching Christmas messages (or others based on extra-biblically established holidays). I can understand that. When I’m in the middle of sermon series I sometimes resent pulling away from that series to preach my annual Arbor Day message. I do far fewer special event sermons than I used to, but I still like to focus on the story of the incarnation of Christ, the birth narratives, for anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks in December.
So, I’m gonna preach some Christmas messages this year. Likely at least 3, perhaps a fourth. That’s the plan.
2) I realize that I can reuse and update old sermons. Believe me, I’ve done that. But I function under the theory that the well of God’s truth is inexhaustible and I want to find something fresh. So, I’m trying to come up with some new, fresh perspectives on Christmas.
3) I hate sappy and sentimental sermons. Okay, there’s a certain amount of nostalgia and sentiment that are necessarily attached to this holiday, but I want my messages to have biblical meat and expositional value, not just be trite messages about Christmas themes. I know “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” but I want something a little more meaty than that!
So, I’m wondering a few things:
1) What are you doing this Christmas season? Why? Does your church go all out with Yuletide cheer, or do you hang a few wreaths around the sanctuary and continue with business as usual?
2) What is your preaching plan this year? If it’s good, are you willing for me to copy it and pretend it was all mine (kidding, folks, kidding). I don’t preach others’ sermons, but I wouldn’t mind some great Christmas message ideas.
3) Have you had some sermon ideas/series in the past that were particularly well received?
One request (that sits on the border of being a command!). If you aren’t crazy about an idea someone shares, just ignore it. If someone puts up a sermon series idea and you think its stupid, just keep it to yourself. I could see a little bit of iron on iron being helpful, but being hyper-critical of another’s sermon just isn’t necessary.
Tell me what you think!