Saturday, December 28, 2013
What is a preacher to do after Christmas is past and Sunday stands in the way? Easter presents an entirely different scenario. Unlike Christmas, Easter always comes on Sunday. On Easter Sunday any preacher worth his or her salt is going to preach on the resurrection of Jesus. After all, it is the central truth of the gospel story. And then on the Sunday after Easter, there are great texts to preach. A preacher can almost preach to Pentecost by going to the Upper Room with the disciples and Thomas, or going down the Emmaus Road, or taking a trip to the beach for breakfast cooked by Jesus. Each is a great story and lends itself to preaching.
And, then there is Christmas. Christmas shows up on any day of the week and most preachers tend to give their best Christmas sermons on the Sunday before Christmas, or on Christmas Eve when folks come back to sing the songs and to receive Holy Communion. By the time Christmas Day comes, preachers are worn out from giving the Bethlehem story their best effort. But, regardless of it all, the Sunday after Christmas still comes. One thing a preacher has no shortage of is the next Sunday. So, what do you do? What do you preach? Lectionary preachers have scripture lessons about the men from the east, or the story of the holy family joining refugees on the road to Egypt, or the massacre of the innocent children. Nothing here is quite as exciting as the post Easter texts.
So, what is a preacher to do? I could say, "Go to worship in the morning and see," but such would be something less than an answer. Perhaps, the thing to do afterwards it to remember that one of the greatest stories in the Bible is the story of the Incarnation. As the angel put it to Joseph, "...name Him Emmanuel, which means God with us." Amazing. God is with us. God is with us today. God is with us when we rejoice in the birth of our children. God is with us in the moments of sorrow when tragedy overwhelms. God is with on the journey to Egypt, or anywhere else. God is with us. Wow! Looks like there really is something to preach in the morning.