Chapter 8

Preaching Lament at Christmas

Good news of great joy did not remove God’s people from the fallen world.

Pauline Guernsey died on Christmas day. I am her oldest grandchild. Christmas lights and hospice, candy canes and catheters, new gifts and last words. Perhaps, no holiday other than Easter, tempts preachers to talk more naïvely than Christmas.

Reflect intentionally on your approach

Naïve Christmas preaching has in mind our motivation to keep the foot tapping and the mouth smiling. Rather than weeping with those who weep, a naïve talker, tries to rejoice with those who cry. We are like those who cheerily and cluelessly “sing songs to a heavy heart” (Prov. 25:20). We resist frowns by poking them with jokes and showering them with confetti. Naïve sermons rob us of our tears by giddily forcing everything to remain bright.

Christmas temptations to speak naïvely, makes sense. After all, who wants a sad sermon during the Christmas season; a yuletide meditation on gloom?

These motives aren’t our problem. Our problem is that we forget that it was for those ...

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