Chapter 1

Caught Between 'Bah, humbug' and 'God bless us, everyone'

When preaching at Christmas is a chore.

Around June of every year I get this uneasy feeling in my stomach. Christmas is coming. Again.

I'm not crazy about Christmas generally and I admit to a bad attitude about preaching in December. Ebenezer ("Rock of Help") Scrooge and I have some things in common. Each December I feel caught somewhere in a no-man's-land between Scrooge's "Bah, humbug!" and Tiny Tim's generous, "God bless us, everyone!"

I've preached Christmas-season sermons for more than 30 years—well over a hundred sermons. As a rule, I don't like to preach the same thing more than once. So you see my dilemma. I know what they say: "Just preach the old story of Jesus' birth. People love to hear it." Maybe, but telling an old story and preaching an old sermon aren't the same thing.

I feel like I am competing with the Christmas heavyweights that my sermons have to go toe-to-toe with—George Bailey, Charlie Brown, Taylor Swift, the Mormon Tabernacle ...

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