Many of my pastoral colleagues absolutely love preaching at Christmas. But even those who enjoy preaching this particular season of the Christian calendar admit that it can be difficult, especially with longevity of ministry tenure. After all, how many ways can you proclaim the Christmas story?
Contemporary preachers may feel increasing pressure to deliver fresh, crisp, relevant teaching on one of the most familiar themes in the Bible. I’ll admit to my own fair share of homiletical hamstring pulls trying to prepare and deliver a thought or idea that would feel like a unique, never thought of before take on the Christmas narrative.
But then I came to the conclusion that Christmas, like Easter, is a story that needs to be told and retold as it is. The foundational truths of the Christmas story need to be deeply imbedded into our theological fabric. The biblical text cites the story in such a way that it doesn’t need a lot of help.
Not only do congregations need to hear the story repeatedly, I think they want to hear the story repeatedly. Granted, for many it’s simply sentimental. But the Christmas story takes a life of its own as it is laid atop another 365 days of life that has been filled with both joy and sorrow. With each year that we live, the Christmas story takes on a little more color as it is applied to our own lengthening shadow.
For what it’s worth, perhaps the best approach to preaching Christmas sermons is to forego the interesting in favor of the important, and let the text speak for itself. If those who hear the sermons need the story to serve as sentiment and nostalgia, so be it. But for those who are maturing in faith, they’ll become re-acquainted with the wonder within the story which will fan the flame of their faith and unlock their imaginations to what can be.