Christmas Wonder

One of the greatest dangers we face in ministry is losing the wonder of what we speak about. The demands of ministry are always high, and this year, maybe even higher. There are the expectations of people, the burden of creativity (only two pairs of Gospel chapters to preach from!), the pastoral concerns that don’t lessen in the dark days of December, extra responsibilities and expectations at home, and so on. How easy it is to lose the wonder of Christmas!

I don’t want to try to prescribe how to keep the wonder of it all this Christmas. I just want to suggest that we do. What will it take? Time with family – proper time? Extra guarded time alone with God? Is there music that triggers your awe at the Incarnation? Or a good book? Whatever it takes.

As we head into this unusual Christmas season, there are definitely pressures building on us. Let’s look to be captured by the grace of God as he chose to step into our messy world. Let’s look to be gripped by the hope held out in the Christmas story for a dark hurting world full of sinners – sinners ruled by sinners, threatened by death, worried about issues local and global (true then as it is true now!) Let’s look to be stirred afresh by the history-hinge of the Incarnation.

Ponder the first Christmas in all its gritty reality. Ponder the Incarnation in all its theological wonder. Ponder the questions raised for the first characters as they watched it unfold. Ponder the answers given to any willing to probe the truths of biblical revelation. Ponder the journey Jesus took from Bethlehem to the Cross. Ponder the everlasting nature of Christ taking on flesh. Ponder the hope that we have of seeing him one day for ourselves. Ponder. Ignite the wonder. Whatever it takes.

Getting Into the Christmas Spirit

Just a month to go until Christmas.  The shops are gearing up, children are more than ready, but are we focused on it yet?  I don’t mean that we should be thinking about what to buy wives for Christmas (although we should, Christmas Eve panic buying is never healthy).  I mean focused on it for preaching.  After all, there are only a handful of Sundays between now and the big day.

Perhaps you are preaching a series from Matthew or Luke, or maybe only one of a series.  Take a look at the passage now and turn on your amazement again.  Don’t worry about how to preach it, what sermon form to use, etc.  For now just read the text with a very open heart and get excited about the Incarnation again.  Tinsel, shopping, carols and dark evenings may excite some, but turn off others.  But if we are going to preach something of the reality of Christmas, then we need to be prepared.

Let’s not preach a tinsel Christmas this year, but a genuinely-excited-incarnation-wonder-season of sermons!