I’ve been asked to give the sermon on December 21st. So now I’m trying to figure out what to speak on. I’ve been praying about it, but God has not given me an “ahah!” moment yet. Since it is the Sunday before Christmas, it will likely be something in relation to that.
I do have one idea swirling in my head, but I am not sure. Around Christmas (and much of the rest of the time) we focus on the surroundings. We focus on the shepherds, the angels, the gifts, history, Mary and Joseph’s reaction, the fulfilled prophecy, the trip to Bethlehem… and somewhere in the middle it is quite possible that we forget about Jesus. We (including me) fail to remember that Christmas is so important because it represents the act of God taking on flesh, being willing to strip himself down and come to us. He became man. An astounding and bewildering notion.Yes, Christmas is a pointer to all that will happen after… all the “stuff” and “events”. But primarily, shouldn’t it be about the God who became man and what that says to us?
For “modern” congregations, more inclined towards sermons with immediate application requiring little thought and deep meditation on essential truths of the faith, something like that path may seem unhelpful. It doesn’t speak directly to me not having sex, treating my wife better, being a good tither, managing my finances, trusting God with my future, evangelizing my neighbor, etc. Not that my church is like that – but I know that I have had conversations where it was clear that if the application for an individual wasn’t direct or immediately apparent, the person became a little grumpy. As if every sermon had to be catered to their specific interests or situation. As if topical preaching was the only style of acceptable preaching. I guess it is a side-effect of a consumer mentality in worship.
Not to say that there isn’t application – rather that it requires a lot more personal involvement. One must accept in faith that Jesus is who he says and that his birth is not just a “cold fact” or theological belief, but something that should alter our very existence. For starters, we can experience and see what human nature was supposed to be – and realize that all our excuses of “that’s just human nature” are all weak justifications. Jesus shows us what human nature was really meant to be… I’m sure it would make some happier if I just retold the “Christmas story”. Not that making people happy has ever been something I was incredibly worried about.
Anyway. Still thinking and praying about it.