Preaching the Familiar


This is the third time I have preached the season of Advent through Epiphany at my current appointment. In my last appointment I was an associate and I may have gotten one or two sermons in during that time. The texts usually the same. Luke’s text for Christmas Eve. Matthew’s story for Epiphany. This is my third time preaching these texts here, but over my 7 years of ministry it is 4 or 6 years for some texts. I’m young into my career but I can feel the question coming…how do you keep it fresh when it is so familiar?

I know there have been books on this, heck probably encyclopedias, but it doesn’t take away the reality away. How do you keep it fresh? How do you not get tired of saying the same thing year after year? How do you keep yourself and the congregation engaged in the meaning of the text? Is this proof that lectionary preaching can get boring?

As I pondered these thoughts my mind wondered what I would preach on Christmas Eve. For the last 7 years I have preached on Christmas Eve. I love preaching Christmas Eve. The message is always roughly the same. God, this night, put on flesh for us. Simply, incarnation. The power is there doesn’t have to be anything else said. The same goes with Easter. All one has to do is preach the resurrection. For these two high holy days, the message is simple and the sermons are simple. But how do you handle the other weeks of Advent and Epiphany? These are holy times but not high holy days.

No real answers, only wrestling with the questions and living in the wonder.

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