Christ Exalted. Merry Christmas.
There comes a time when passions collide…but in a good way.
I’ve rarely been more excited about preaching a series. For me, personally, this is both a gift and a fix.
It is a gift because we, together, are going to open up the Word of God and think about Jesus. Jesus is the destination of Scripture. All things lead up to His exaltation. Throughout the Bible, Jesus is the main subject, which directs Scripture toward the culmination of the plan of God that He alone executes.
Jesus is also the most immediate aspect of Scripture. Meaning, while Scripture does many things, the immediate function is to lead us to Christ. This is because in Christ we see the Father. Since God has no greater gift to give us than His presence and Christ is the portal to the presence of God, then what better person can we fixate on than the one who gets us to the Father?
So, we are going to take five Sundays and think about Jesus, toggling between text and topics. We will meditate on:
- Christ as the Promised Messiah from Isaiah 40:1-11
- Mary’s Prayer (The Magnificat) from Luke 1:46-55
- The Virgin Birth from Isaiah 7:10-14, Luke 1:26-28 and Romans 5:12-20
- Reconciliation from Colossians 1:15-20 and Romans 5
- Christ’s Identification with Us from Hebrews 2:14-15
Studying these great themes together will be a gift that I am so excited to share.
It is also a fix to a peculiar problem.
I love Christmas. And, to be candid, I like the parts that are around Christmas like the food, gifts, music, and the general Americanness of it all. The Christian in me feels a tinge of guilt for liking the “trappings” of the season. I don’t think this is false guilt. The guilt is justified for the reason that the trappings of the holiday are a genuine distraction to thinking about Jesus! I refuse to be a scrooge, and at the same time I refuse to forget to carve out a spot to worship Christ. So here is a fix…or part of a fix.
During Christmas, I want to leverage the season with my family to teach them about the incarnation and the atonement. These are two critically important doctrines to our faith. They are mind blowing doctrines. But here’s the thing, we already sing about them in our Christmas carols! So, as a part of this fix, I want us as a church to think deeply about what we are singing. Music is portable theology, and we have a rich tradition of singing this theology more precisely at Christmas than any other time of the year.
We will sing a hymn with each text in each sermon that reinforces the theology of the text. If we do it right, we will never sing the hymn the same way again.
After some reflection, we landed on these hymns:
- Christ as the Promised Messiah from Isaiah 40:1-11 | “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”
- Mary’s Prayer (The Magnificat) from Luke 1:46-55 | “O Holy Night”
- The Virgin Birth from Isaiah 7:10-14, Luke 1:26-28 and Romans 5:12-20 | “Silent Night”
- Reconciliation from Colossians 1:15-20 and Romans 5 | “God and Sinners Reconciled” from Hark the Herald Angels Sing
- Christ’s Identification with Us from Hebrews 2:14-15 | “Born that Man No More May Die” from Hark the Herald Angels Sing
As your family gathers to think about Christmas, my prayer is that this will help you accomplish the goals of fixating on Christ during Christmas.
May you have a Merry Christmas and May Christ be Exalted,