The familiarity of the story should encourage us to prepare more, not less.
Any of us who teach and preach will likely have opportunities to tell the Christmas story over the coming week. Here are my suggestions for doing this task:
1. Renew your own sense of wonder first. It seems to me that we celebrate Santa Claus more than we celebrate Jesus. Let your telling the Christmas story naturally erupt from your heart.
2. Don’t simply repeat your sermons of the past. It’s too easy to simply repeat something from yesterday. Get back to the Word, dig in and ask God for a refreshed look at the Word.
3. Get some prayer warriors to pray as you tell the story. The fact that you know the story well doesn’t mean you should pray less; no, it should challenge you to pray more so you don’t tell the story in your own power.
4. Don’t assume that everyone who’s listening knows the story. Even many long-term believers know only portions of the story. Tell it as if your listeners know none of it.
5. Assume you’ll have some skeptics listening. Some folks will show up at your church because it’s Christmas, not because they believe a story about a virgin giving birth to God. Even the Christmas story may need some apologetics.
6. Don’t assume that everyone celebrates Christmas. Much of the world, in fact, does not follow Jesus—and the celebration of His birth is not part of their lives. Curiosity may bring them to your church, however.
7. Get to the story, and teach the Word. Some of your listeners will give you only one opportunity to capture their attention. They’re listening only because it’s Christmas—so don’t waste time or lose focus.
8. Tell the story in story form. Developing a teaching or preaching outline is good, but let the story speak for itself. There’s a place for simply reading the story and interjecting information to explain it only when needed.
9. Don’t overdo the theologizing. Teach the theology of the story, but teach to communicate a story and a message, not simply to impress. Keep the simple story of Christmas simple.
10. Don’t end the story at Bethlehem. That’s the beginning of the story—not the conclusion. Christ’s birth without his death and resurrection doesn’t make much sense.
What would you add to this list?
This article originally appeared on ChuckLawless.com.