If you are feeling like you’ve said everything there is to say on the subject of Christmas… you aren’t alone. Even the best pastors can get into ruts or feel uninspired. And that can be true for even the most sacred of scriptures, celebrations, and holidays.
It’s okay. You are okay. Sometimes we all need a little help finding new ways to express old truths. Seeing scriptures we know by rote with new eyes helps others see them in a fresh light. It can be the difference between walking through the motions of the holidays and truly celebrating.
Rather than going inward, to your own mind, your own history, and your own imagination, go outward. You’ve likely already mined all of your own associations with the holidays and preached on them before. Instead, start reading other people’s books, blogs, and essays. Start listening to other people’s sermons, podcasts, and teachings.
Many in your congregation deeply value their traditions and will want them kept intact. There is no need to change everything up. People will still want to sing their beloved Christmas carols, have their children’s pageants, and hear the familiar scriptures read aloud with the lighting of the candles. But you can introduce some freshness into advent by reading widely and collaborating with others whenever possible.
Different Perspectives for the Holidays
What else is going on in the context of the Christmas story? How might that context speak to people today?
There is so much more to the story than the narrative known by heart. There are so many lenses we can look through to get a fresh perspective. Here are a few examples:
What about looking at Luke from a female perspective? The stories of Mary and Elizabeth are often told during Advent but there are several women in the first chapters of Luke who are overlooked. The stories of the woman mentioned in the genealogy are beautiful foreshadowing of the grace and reconciliation found in Jesus.
A Weary World
In his book, An Honest Advent, artist Scott Erickson peels away the polish of Christmas Present and looks at the story through the lens of the painful realities of the weary world then—and now.
One helpful resource I recently ran across is an annual advent guide by Dave Meserve, available through Volunteers of America, that provides fresh takes on advent each year. For instance, one past year looks at the events of the incarnation through the lens of place: Jerusalem, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Egypt, and the roads along the way.
Food for Thought
- What other perspectives can you consider when reading through Luke?
- Who could you talk with?
- What resources could you access?
- Where might you find more ideas you could build on?
*An Undivided Heart- Cultivation of the heart flows into transformative action. Written to refresh and inspire your walk with God, An Undivided Heart: Living and Loving like Jesus, isn’t an instruction manual with step-by-step procedures. It is a journey, unique to you, that begins with your unique relationship with Jesus. Living with an undivided heart will naturally lead to living an undivided life.
Note: This blog post was adapted from one I wrote for Christian Coaching Tools.