To say that I am excited to be preaching the Christmas services at Mariners Church this Christmas would be a massive understatement. I struggle to adequately express in words the honor and privilege I feel to be able to declare the Christmas story to people I love and to the friends they are bringing with them.
Churches offer Christmas services in a variety of ways with the three most common approaches being:
- Approach one: Keep their normal worship service schedule and emphasize Christmas on the Sunday before Christmas Eve and do not offer services on Christmas Eve.
- Approach two: Offer Christmas Eve services that are distinct from their regular weekend services, while still offering their regular weekend worship services.
- Approach three: Offer multiple options of the same service throughout Christmas week. This is our approach and it really is the only way for us to be able to host and serve all the people we prayerfully will be able to minister to over Christmas.
Regardless of a church’s approach to Christmas services, God uses all of them. And regardless of the approach, some of us are very blessed to be able to stand in front of a group of people and declare the “good news that is great joy for all people.” As we put finishing touches on our messages, here are five reminders:
1. There will be more kids in the room than normal.
Look through your message through the eyes of a child, as there will be more kids in the room than normal. Exposing Santa as a fraud won’t inspire awe for Jesus or help the parents. Nor will using a string of big theological words. Speak to the kids too.
2. A shorter and simpler message is wise.
The message of Christmas, God entering our world to reconcile us to Himself, is powerful and the message we need to hear over and over again. It can also be declared in simple and straight-forward language. When the message was announced through the gospel writers, the Lord decided it would be written in Koine Greek instead of Classical Greek. It was placed in the common, street-language of the day.
3. No one is shamed into following Jesus more.
God wins us to Himself with kindness, as it is “His kindness that leads us to repentance” (Romans 2:4). Thus, you won’t inspire people to follow Jesus by poking fun at those who have not been to church since Easter or calling them selfish because of their Christmas wish list. While we want to show the beauty of Christ and the emptiness of the things of this world, we must do so graciously.
4. There is deep pain in the room.
While people smile, take pictures, and fulfill their Christmas plans with friends and family, there is deep pain beneath the surface in many of the people who we are preaching to. Reminding ourselves that some are struggling with loss, some with health concerns, some with uncertainty moving into a new year, and some with relational tension helps us speak with compassion and with hope.
5. All this is for Jesus and about Jesus.
Jesus is the only One who can transform the heart; Be sure He is the hero of your Christmas service.