As a pastor, I preached Christmas messages so often that it became commonplace. Through my years in ministry, I had to fight against turning these messages into "just another Sunday" and treating them as the special moments in the calendar they are.
Pastor, in your church, you are setting the tone. If you are excited about Christmas, then your people will be, too. Over the next four weeks, I'd like to share four ways you can prepare for Christmas and each week I will be looking at a specific word from Luke 2.
The Christmas Story
8And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."
The shepherds were doing what shepherds do--watching their sheep--when a life-changing event happened: an angel came with a message. The shepherds were the first people to hear the news of Jesus' birth, something the angel called "good news of great joy."
Today, news travels much differently than it did two thousand years ago. At that time, news mainly went through word of mouth. It was shared from one person to another and then another. In that day, there was no CNN or Fox News to announce Jesus' birth; no Instagram to share the news; no Twitter or Facebook. It was just one person talking to another person about what happened.
In our day, it is becoming increasingly hard to listen to the news. I can't watch cable news without feeling upset by what I'm hearing. The news is more about tearing people down and sharing opinion as fact than it is about telling the unfiltered truth. But, pastor, in an age where there isn't much good news to report, you have the opportunity to share the Good News with others. And you can share it the same way they did in Jesus' day: one person to another.
The first way to prepare for Christmas is to think about what Jesus has done in your life this past year and share that news with others. You have a story, pastor. Jesus has had an impact in your life and He invites you to share that with others. When you do, it will give you the opportunity to share the Good News of what Jesus can do in anyone's life.
There is a lot of news today but there is only one Good News. Ask the Father who He wants you to share that news with this week.