As we near the Christmas season, pastors will be considering how to effectively share the gospel during the Advent season. Perhaps you’re continuing with an expositional series you began earlier in the year. However, most of the pastors I’ve encountered through the years will take a break from a verse-by-verse series for the Advent season. This has typically been my practice as well.
Preaching during Advent does not need to be complicated. Let me offer three tips for preaching during the Advent season.
1. Keep it simple
You will most likely see some new faces during the Christmas season. You will definitely see some folks that you probably haven’t seen since Easter — or maybe even last Christmas. Now, I’ve known some preachers who have tried to hit some obscure theological concept during December. Let me just counsel that this is probably not the best time of year to get on your theological soapbox. This is not the time to talk about how pro- or anti-Calvinism you are. It’s definitely not the time for you to jump into your best end-times exegesis. And here’s why: If folks are coming to your church during the Christmas season that don’t normally attend, they want to hear the Christmas story.
Perhaps they remember Christmas seasons from years ago and remember going to church at Christmas with their grandparents. Perhaps they are dealing with the depression that can so easily set in during the holiday season. They are looking for hope. You don’t have to wow them with your grasp of big theological words.
2. Provide follow-up opportunities
Many families will go through some type of devotional or use Advent readings during the Christmas season. You can make these available to your church members by way of books in the lobby, or even just give a few short daily reading passages in the bulletin. For instance, I’m preaching through the Advent wreath this year, focusing on the themes of hope, peace, joy, and love for the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. So, each week I’ll provide three or four passages for families to read through the following week that focus on those themes. This will help families connect with the message during the week as we lead up to Advent.
3. Preach the gospel
This may seem like an obvious one and, honestly, it is. But it’s also important. As I mentioned above, you will probably have folks who visit your church during the holiday season that you won’t see the rest of the year. They are coming for a reason. Maybe they are looking for things like the hope, peace, joy and love we talk about so much during this time of the year. But the simple fact is this: True hope, peace, joy, and love are only found in the gospel. They’re only truly found in the message that God sent His only Son to earth as a man to pay the penalty of death that we deserve because of our sin. As we focus our attention on the manger, it’s important that we not forget to look to the cross and, more importantly, the empty tomb. Declare with boldness the finished work of Jesus upon the cross this Christmas season!
God bless you and your family this Christmas season. I’m excited to hear what the Lord does in and through you and your churches!,