Christmas sermons can feel a little bit superficial. Nostalgic Christmas card scenes described with platitudes about peace on earth, etc. If we are not careful, we can miss a great opportunity to preach the gospel to visitors who may only come to church at this time of year.
The traditional way to get to the Gospel in our Christmas preaching is to paint an arrow from the crib to Calvary. This is certainly an important link to make. By all means let folks know why Jesus chose to come and where it was all headed.
But maybe in our eagerness to move the story forwards, we may be missing something. After all, our listeners may not be as surprised by the cross as we seem to think they will be. Maybe they anticipate hearing about those old Bible stories and maybe they find Christmas and the Cross to be two of the familiar facts about Jesus. If so, then it can still all feel very “long ago and far away.”
Perhaps people might be surprised to discover that Christianity actually speaks to the heart of their daily struggle.
For instance, ever since the Fall we have all been saturated in the brine of self-solutions. I can get my act together. I should work my way out of this. I need to turn over a new leaf. I am the master of my own destiny. I, I, I.
Add in the Gospel and people may find it slightly foreign and a little irrelevant. Maybe Jesus can bring peace on earth in some hypothetical future, but how does that help this week? It doesn’t stop wars today and my life is still a struggle.
So this Christmas, instead of simply drawing a line from Jesus’ birth to death, why not pause and ponder if there is a way to reveal an underlying theological issue that people feel. How about this – Christmas points away from “what-must-we-do” to “who-can-we-trust.” And we need that.
Please take a look at a brief devotional post on this issue, it might help with your Christmas preaching this year. Click here to go to the site dedicated to Pleased To Dwell: A Biblical Introduction to the Incarnation.