Today I am digging in the home front and spending the day preparing two Christmas sermons: one for Christmas Eve services, and one for Christmas Day. Every year I tell this story at length, utilizing Advent season to bring out the nuances of the amazing miracle of God coming to earth to be present with us. It’s an incredible story and one that takes more than one Sunday to tell… (The same goes for Easter!) So today as I think of all that I’ve already said, and the two more messages to get out, I’m wondering what is left to say. Really, so many times what I really want to do is play “A Charlie Brown Christmas” where the story is told in its beautiful simplicity by little Linus. (Charlie Brown Christmas – YouTube) And yet every year I seek to make it fresh by adding something current and relevant.
In seminary we took a class on Story by Mary Elizabeth Mullino Moore, and she taught us that the story itself will transform lives. Our interaction with the story matters, but even so, the simple story will go down deep into a soul and do what stories do: change the world. I am remembering this as I prepare. God is in the story and I am the story teller, but all that we preachers have to do this season is remember, relate, and retell an old story that never gets old, boring, or mundane.
Especially now. When culture is barfing up materialism in the name of Christmas, this story will shine brightly to a world seeking for the real experience of God. This is it! This is our experience! The story of a God who loves and cares for us so much that this God moved toward us, embracing us with the kiss of a sweet baby, a lone manger, and a tender message of hope.
Hope I do the story simple this year.
Faith, hope, & love,