December 21, 2009

how does one preach Christmas?

Thursday night will be my second time to preach the Feast of the Nativity. The first time around I used humor to reach out to an audience that is very different from Sunday morning, almost unknown. This year, I'm just not sure which way to go.

The Feast of the Nativity celebrates an offensive event; God became flesh and dwelt among us. Titus explains that he came to bring salvation to all. Isaiah promises that he came to bring peace. The incarnation is wildly difficult to understand and preaching it is nearly impossible. Does the preacher rail against commercialism and tell all the kids Santa isn't real? I've heard of this being done, but you won't see it from me. Does the preacher make the gospel soft and cuddly for the Poinsettia and Lily folk hoping that they'll return sometime in between? I've heard of this being done, but you won't see it from me. Do I stumble around the fact that Jesus was probably born in April and then tell people Jesus is the reason for the season (I heard this last night, and my head almost exploded)? I usually try to live by Paul's advice to preach only Christ and him crucified, but that's just impossible on Christmas; let's let Jesus be born before we kill him.

So today I search and listen. Today I seek a way into the good news that God was born on Christmas Day. I think it comes in one of two ways - either I'll preach light or I'll preach the fringes. Either way, I pray the Spirit guides the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart.

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