Why I’m Preaching on the Birth of Jesus on December 25

mangerThose who take the time to read this article probably fall into one of the following two groups: 1) Those who want to know why in the world I would preach on this topic on this day, and 2) Those who want to know why in the world I would preach on any other topic on this day.

Let me begin by saying that I am well aware of the fact that we don’t know the day on which Jesus was born.  I am also aware that while the birth of Jesus is a biblical doctrine, God never established a memorial to observe his birth as he did with the Lord’s Supper, memorializing Jesus’ sacrifice.

So why am I preaching on the birth of Jesus on Sunday, December 25? Please consider my reasons.

  • Because the birth of Jesus is a biblical topic. It’s an amazing biblical doctrine. The very thought of the almighty becoming a man, not just a man, but a helpless, dependent baby is mind-boggling, and key to our redemption. But some might suggest that I preach on such a theme at a different time of the year. I must admit that such thinking confuses me a bit for I have never, in all my years of preaching, heard anyone object to a sermon on “Godly Mothers” and “Godly Father” on “Mothers’ Day” and “Fathers’ Day.” Nor have I ever heard anyone object to using “Memorial Day” as a day in which I preach a sermon on the “Lord’s Supper,” or “Independence Day” as an opportunity to preach a lesson on the freedom we have in Christ.  Where’s the consistency?
  • Preaching on the birth of Jesus on December 25 is merely “meeting people where they are.” Remember when Philip caught up with the Ethiopian eunuch, and he found the eunuch reading from Isaiah 53? The text tells us that Philip began at that same Scripture and preached Jesus to him (Acts 8:35). In other words Philip started right where the eunuch was, and he preached Jesus to him.  Likewise, preaching on the birth of Jesus on December 25 is merely taking advantage of meeting people right where they are and taking them where they need to be.
  • It’s an opportunity to re-purpose a cultural event. When Paul was standing on Areopagus, the hub of idolatry, he preached a powerfully, convicting sermon. But do you know how he developed that sermon? He “re-purposed” one of their pagan idols and used it to point them to the resurrected Lord. In that same vein, I can “re-purpose” our cultural “Christmas narrative” and use it to point people to Jesus, the crucified Lord.

By preaching on the birth of Jesus on December 25, I, in no way, intend to perpetuate myths about the birth of Jesus or celebrate a man-made religious memorial. Not at all! What I intend to do is meet people where they are (like Philip did), re-purpose a cultural event (like Paul did), and point people to Jesus; not just the cute baby Jesus in the manger, but the grown-up, crucified Jesus who makes demands on our lives.

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Comments 9

  • Amen and amen.. I am preaching from Luke chapter 2 that morning myself for reasons that are precisely those stated by you.

  • It’s fine. It’s okay. I may do the same for the same reasons!

  • People need to know that the wise men didn’t come to the birth of Jesus but it was probably two years later when they came to a house in which they lived.

  • Right on! Thanks, Steve

  • I always do a series and try to bring out the rich theology of what the coming of the Messiah means.

  • Thanks for another great article brother!
    Keith Ross

  • Excellent point, Steve! I plan to do the same.

  • Yes, Elizabeth, you’re right about the wise men not being present on the night that Jesus was born. In fact, there are many fictional beliefs surrounding the birth of Jesus that are not a part of the biblical narrative, but people still embrace as truth. But even more important than being correct in many of these mistaken notions is to make sure that people understand that the birth of Jesus was the introduction of God into this world as a man. And, that not only was he a baby that everyone can love, he grew up to be a man who made demands on our lives. This is what I want to emphasize. A person can miss some trivia questions and still be saved, but they cannot fail to make Jesus their Lord and be saved.

  • Well said, Steve. Jesus is the centerpiece for every season, every occasion, every church gathering and every Christmas Day. It is in his birth that started it all for our redemption.

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