Too easily our Christmas preaching can slide toward quaint and familiar yore. The Christmas story can feel like a very familiar old fable with all its beautiful and eclectic characters. Yet the first Christmas was a time of great confusion.
Let’s not rush to a post-Christmas presentation of the Gospel, or a present-day application of the Gospel. Let’s consider how entering into their world could give us profoundly relevant insights into the good news of Jesus’ birth.
The shepherds needed guidance from the angel to know that they could even go and meet this child born to be king. If it weren’t for the information about the manger they would have remained in the fields impressed by the vision they’d seen.
The journey of the Magi might have been longer than a lifetime of our journey’s put together. All because of a star and some prophecies in potentially foreign documents – that was quite the complex situation.
For Mary and Joseph there was the information from Gabriel, which answered the big and obvious question, but it left a lot unsaid. What would they say to others? Would they ever be able to live life in the town they knew? How would things go with their families, and those who Joseph relied on for work? So many questions in the nitty gritty side of life.
And yet the Christmas story gave them what they needed. They knew about God’s kindness, God’s faithfulness, God’s with-us-ness, God’s plan to deliver people from their sins, etc.
As we preach Christmas this Christmas, lets think about tapping into the reality of that first Christmas to stand shoulder to shoulder with Mary, with Joseph, etc., and to look toward Jesus and all that he means. Let’s feel the complexity of their lives and discover that in the numerous unanswered questions in our lives we can also share their soul posture and trust God.
2 thoughts on “Christmas Preaching and the Nitty Gritty of Life”
I love this article and will be using your thoughts about the shepherds needing guidance in an upcoming sermon. Thanks for your ministry!!
Thanks Steven – yes, we tend to think that the sign was to identify which baby, but there would not have been numerous babies born that night in a relatively small town. The sign was an indication that they should go at all . . . because he came to such as you! I loved that section when I wrote Pleased to Dwell. (Just a plug here, you might find the book helpful for pre-Christmas preaching, as well as year-round devotions)