Chapter 6

Making Christmas Strange and Wonderful

4 ways to help our listeners engage more deeply with the Christmas story.

It was 11:45 p.m. one Christmas Eve, and I was in church singing a carol. Normally Christmas Eve is one of the highlights of my year, but that day I felt sick. The last verse of the carol came to an end, and I made my way over to the pulpit with a blank notebook and nothing to say. It was not just this service I was ill-prepared for—it was the other three I had to give in the next 48 hours.

Christmas can be a preacher's nightmare. There are so many services in such a short space of time, so many well-known texts, and so many expectations of joyful, poignant, punchy sermons. There are so many visitors and so little time.

During Christmastime, there are many questions that we can find ourselves asking. How do we preach on familiar passages and still find something fresh to say? How can we help our temporarily expanded congregations capture the wonder of Christmas? How can we help Christians leave the service with their faith deepened and help those who are not yet Christians leave ...

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