It can be a challenge to preach through Advent and Christmas. How do you find something new to say?
Don’t. The purpose of Advent/Christmas worship and preaching is to help the community reconnect with some of the primal stories of our faith. That in and of itself is a source of strength.
I often work with pastors as they try to understand more deeply both their own family story and the story of their congregation. Those stories (and what people believe about them) matter. Becoming more reflective and less reactive about these stories is good. The past can become a resource for the present.
This is also true about the wider Christian story. We tell these stories again and again because they continue to have power. Remembering them is important. John the Baptist’s witness. Mary’s Magnificat. The baby in the manger.
As you read the texts for the next few weeks, notice what they say. Here are four ways to connect with them.
1. Read them aloud to yourself.
2. Use one of the texts for prayer.
3. Get out your crayons (yes, really) and draw a picture.
4. Write one text out by hand (on real paper with a real pen or pencil).
After you try one or two of these, then see what emerges as you begin or go back to your sermon ideas.
Then offer your sermon or meditation to your congregation as a gift. They simply need to hear the story once again – and so do you.