In preparing for Christmas through the season of Advent I always like to find a new source of inspiration. This year I read Timothy Keller’s, Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truth Behind the Birth of Christ. Each chapter represents at least 10 or so meditations and sermons on each biblical text, delivered in Christmas services across the decades of his ministry. He is always rewarding.

I find that Christmas is the most challenging time for a preacher. The major services are on Christmas Eve when families throng the church, along with once a year visitors, to enjoy the unique candelight atmosphere, the Christmas decorations, trees decorated with lights, wreaths, poinsettias, and the glorious familiar music of the season. What can you say that will communicate the angelic message to such a multi-generational diverse congregation in a fresh and compelling way?

Keller’s chapter titles are eye-catching:

A Light Has Dawned

The Mothers of Jesus

The Fathers of Jesus

Where is the King?

Mary’s Faith

The Shepherd’s Faith

A Sword in the Soul

The Doctrine of Christmas

I will be quoting him a couple of times this year.

As I look back over the years my book of Christmas messages would have the following chapter titles:

Christmas in Solitary Confinement

The Vulnerability of God

What is so Special about Jesus?

The Showing of God’s Love

Fear Not

The Gift of Christmas

Christmas in a Hotel

Christmas and Miracles

You can find them in Volume 4 of my SOUL FOOD: Daily Devotions for the Hungry

What would you entitle your Christmas message this year? What does the coming of God in the flesh mean to you? This coming Christmas Eve my message will be an exposition of 1 John 1:1-4 entitled What Is Essential to Being a Christian?