Preaching Articles

Christmas services are just a few weeks away. You might be getting excited, or dreading another Christmas and the need to generate more messages when the obvious options feel well worn. Here are some other angles to consider:

Prophecies—There are some key Old Testament prophecies, such as Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:6, Micah 5:2 even Jeremiah 31:15. Why not take an Old Testament approach to Christmas hopes this year?

People—Maybe you have preached through Matthew’s opening chapters, but have you preached the four other ladies in Matthew’s genealogy ... Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, the one “who had been Uriah’s wife.” Four ladies with question marks over their morality, rightly or wrongly, that set up the lady who has to be in the genealogy (also with a question mark hanging over her morality, wrongly in her case). Or perhaps you might trace the Gentiles in the genealogy to show the greater scope of the Christmas hope?

Themes—Why not track a theme this year that could be developed with one week in the Old Testament, one week in the Christmas narratives and one week later on in the gospels or epistles. For example, consider the Immanuel theme from Isaiah 7:14–9:7, emphasized in Matthew 1, continued for our age in Matthew 28:20.

Less Obvious Passages—Perhaps you might consider the less obvious Christmas passages, i.e., those that aren’t in early Matthew or Luke. You have the prologue to John’s Gospel, giving the other side of the story, if you like. Or you have references like Galatians 4:4 and similarly Incarnation-focused passages like Titus 2:11–14.

Christmas Titles—It would be interesting to explore the titles used in the Christmas narrativesJesus, Savior, Immanuel, King, etc.

Carol Theology—While some are keen to cut down the errors in the carols, there are some great truths encapsulated in the carols, too. Perhaps you could take Hark the Herald Angels Sing or another carol and trace the biblical background to a verse each week. Different, but for some congregations this might be a blessing. Remember that you are preaching the Bible, not the carol.

Contemporary Emphases—You could take key emphases in the world’s view of Christmas and present a positive biblical engagement with each one. Gifts, peace, goodwill, family, etc.

Christmas is coming. Let’s not have our pulpits filled with preachers trying to hide a creative fatigue over such a great subject. Let’s take a new angle, dive into the Bible and preach with hearts spilling over!

Peter Mead is involved in the leadership team of a church plant in the UK. He serves as director of Cor Deo—an innovative mentored ministry training program—and has a wider ministry preaching and training preachers. He also blogs often at and recently authored Pleased to Dwell: A Biblical Introduction to the Incarnation (Christian Focus, 2014). Follow him on Twitter

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Brian Lassiter

commented on Dec 16, 2014

Thank you. I like to take alternate, deeper, call it what you like approaches to subjects people "know too well." Not only does it freshen up our view, it shows how much more there really is to the story. You bring up a question I ask myself frequently: - Do we really teach?

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