Monday, December 15, 2008

Preaching the Cross in Advent/Christmastime

One of the interesting things I've noticed is that society seems to have pushed Christians a bit too far with the whole "Happy Holidays" thing. . . where it's no longer just a nice song from the 50s, but what you have to say - and woe to anyone who says Merry Christmas! And so now it seems we have people clamoring for the use of the Word Christmas - and this clamor has accelerated in the past decade or so.

I hope we recognize as Pastors what a wonderful opportunity this is to preach not just the birth, but also the death and resurrection of our Lord. One of the things that has happened in the recent past is that Christmas has seemed to be a time where even in the Church, sentimentality reigned as champ - where if you pealed back the layer of commercialism, you found that Christmas was primarily a day for family, for hopes of a white Christmas. It was the day to sit back, see the little kids (Christmas is for kids, after all), and think back on your youth. . . ah.

And woe, in the atmosphere of rampant sentimentality, to that pastor who focused on the Incarnation -- and certainly not that this Child came into the flesh to go to the Cross. And this is the way it had been for decades - Linus' reading of Luke 2 was somewhat counter-cultural even when it first came out.

But now we have an opportunity. Christians are clamoring to have Christ in Christmas. The world has pushed too far. . . probably because in threatening "Christmas" the world is attacking the sentimentality people love. Now, people want Christ in Christmas - so be bold, preach Christ and Him Crucified. The time is ripe.

Granted, we should as pastors always be preaching Christ and Him Crucified - but now you might have less people roll their eyes in December when you do.

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