Tag Archives: sermon

In The Middle of it All: Sermon from Christmas Eve

It’s been a while, but here is the text from my Christmas Eve sermon.  Feel free to offer feedback.

In the Middle of it All

Luke 2:1-20

I.  The Gospel Story and a Singing Santa 

In the country of Turkey, 99% of the population is Muslim.  Needless to say, not many Turks celebrate Christmas.  However, Christmas tradition is migrating over to Istanbul in Turkey.  If you were to walk down the main streets of Istanbul you would see shop windows decorated with garland and tinsel, Christmas trees decorated with ornaments on the streets and in homes, and even men dressed as Santa Claus selling lottery tickets.

One woman was buying gifts and decorations for a party:  she has a tree at her apartment and she was on the hunt for more ornaments–and a Santa Claus.  That is the biggest selling item this Christmas in Istanbul–and even in New Delhi, India–an electronic singing Santa Claus.  You know the kind–they spontaneously break out in a “ho, ho, ho” and begin singing Jingle Bells.

I’ve had bad experiences with these sorts of things–especially the kind with motion sensors.  I remember staying at a friend’s house and searching for a bathroom in the middle of the night and walking in the wrong room only to be greeted by a chorus of Billy Bass singing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” and being insulted by a plastic deer head hanging on the wall.  I almost didn’t need to find the restroom after that!

All I could think of was Jeff Foxworthy in the Blue Collar Comedy Tour movie:  If you own more than three of these things, you might be a redneck!  (Don’t worry about that, if you were to walk in my back yard right now you would think that I embodied all of the Jeff Foxworthy sayings!)

But that’s what’s selling right now in Istanbul–singing Santa Clauses.  A reporter spoke to a man in Istanbul that was purchasing one of these Singing Santa Clauses and asked him if he had a Christmas tree.  The man replied:  “Yes of course we have a tree at home and we decorate it and…but the truth is we don’t know what really Christmas is.  I like it.  I enjoy it but we don’t know what the true meaning of it is.”

 In the middle of all of the tradition, in the middle of trees, ornaments, garland, and singing Santa Clauses, this Turkish man isn’t quite sure why he was celebrating Christmas.  You can even hear a hint of longing in his voice:  why?  I desperately want to know why are we doing this?  I know it is special, but why are we doing this?  What is the meaning of it all?
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How long do you preach?

This is a repeat for you methobloggers, but for the rest of us:

Eric Kieb over at the Eclectic Soul asks:

How Long Do You Preach?

I get a lot at my current pastoral appointment that I preach “too long” with the implication being that a good message is about 12-15 minutes or so.

I normally preach about 20-30 minutes, which, in fairness to my little tribe, is a pretty different experience for them.

For those of you who are communicators out there, or are at least part of a faith community and have experience being subjected to the ramblings of your favorite preacher; how long do you/they preach?  I’d be interested to know.

And, by the way, just for giggles, name your denominational brand if you prefer to.

I have done 2 sermons and some other speaking engagements.  I tend to do 15-20 minutes.  My philosophy is that if you research, exegete, and then build your communication in a concise way, then you know the material well–similarly, if your material is concise then you have made solid decisions about every moment of your sermon.  We should avoid moments that are not thought out.

What about you?

from the mouths of priests…

In the sermon tonight, Rev. Linda McCloud (of The Episcopal Church Of Our Savior at Honey Creek and sharing at King of Peace Episcopal) shares:

We should take better care of this planet for it is our only source of chocolate.