The Christmas story is so simple. And so weird.
Everyday simple – literally. As in, millions of times every day simple.
A baby is born.
Other-worldly weird. Not-even-in-a-comic-book weird. It-can-only-be-a-miracle weird.
That baby is God, the creator of all things, come to this planet in human form.
The Truth In The Middle
One of the challenges of preaching for Christmas is holding those two very different truths in hand without falling into one of two traps.
Trap one: leaning on the simplicity of the birth so much that we downplay the weird.
It’s just another birth. Like every birth, it holds the promise of great hope, joy, beauty and expectation. Wonderful things, to be sure. But only half the story.
Trap two: emphasizing the weirdness so much that we overcomplicate a profoundly simple story.
Suddenly, people who come to church for Christmas get inundated with so many complicated theological ideas and ten-dollar words that they leave more confused than when they arrived.
The escape from either trap lies on a path dead center between them. And there’s only one way to stay on that path.
Tell the story.
The big picture story.
If this baby really was God come to earth, tell us why and how by giving us the whole story.
It can’t be all sunshine or all shadows. It needs the dynamic tension of a crisis and a solution that we care about.
That’s what every great story does. Thankfully, this story has all of that and then some. With one big advantage – it’s completely true. Theologically and historically true.
The Big Picture Story
Don’t leave any part of this amazing, weird, miraculous, but simple story out.
The set-up: God created us.
The crisis: We broke God’s heart (and everything else) through the disobedience of sin.
The journey: Every other path back to life and love was a dead-end.
The climax: God came in the form of Jesus to restore what we had broken.
The dénouement: (Google it. It’s real thing.) We can accept Jesus ourselves and live in peace with God, and towards each other.
This Christmas, keep it simple and keep it weird.
Tell the story.
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