Nice Sermon Illustrations For Christmas
Christmas is fast approaching and I guess many of us ministers are making 4 series Christmas sermons. But let me ask you something, how’s your Christmas illustrations coming?
Well, no worry. Today, I have a collection of christmas sermon illustrations for you.
O Little Town of Bethlehem: A Story of Faith
One of my all time favorite Christmas hymns is “O Little Town of
Bethlehem.” It has been around since 1868 although it wasn’t formally used
in churches until 1892. It is a hymn which is packed with emotion, a song
about the Christ Child, born to Mary, a song filled with the creative
power of God intervening in history with the gift of a savior.
For me “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” depicts the Christmas story as a
story of hope, a story where the divine and the human come together in an
amazing but humble way. It is also an invitation for both the non-believer
and the believer. For the non-believer it is an announcement of what God
has done and for the believer it is a challenge to increase one’s faith.
What might surprise you is how this great hymn came to be. It was written
by Phillips Brooks, Episcopal priest. Brooks was serving the Holy Trinity
Church in the City of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia, PA). He had just
returned from a trip to The Holy Land which inspired him to write the
words. “When he returned to America he still had Palestine singing in his
soul.” (from Stories of Christmas Carols by Ernest K. Emurian, Baker Book
House Co., page 97)
Brooks was a bachelor. His church organist and Sunday School
superintendent, Lewis Redner was also a bachelor and Brooks gave the words
to him and asked him to create a tune for the upcoming Christmas
celebration. Redner procrastinated and struggled with the creation of a
tune to go with the 5 stanzas that Brooks had written. It wasn’t until the
night before the celebration that Redner got inspired in the middle of the
night and created the song as we know it. The following day a group of 36
children and 6 Sunday school teachers introduced the song created by the 2
bachelors. That was on December 27th, 1968. It wasn’t published as an
official hymn of the Episcopal Church until 1892. The following January,
Phillips Brooks died, never knowing the magnitude of the hymn that he
For some reason the 4th stanza has been dropped from the original score.
“Where children pure and happy Pray to the blessed Child, Where misery
cries out to thee, Son of the mother mild; Where charity stands watching
And faith holds wide the door, The dark night wakes, the glory breaks, And
Christmas comes once more.” The stanza includes the line, “And faith holds
wide the door.”
This hymn, like the story of the annunciation of Mary in the gospel of
Luke, is a story about faith.
Keith Wagner, Real Hope
There Had to Be a Father
Pastor William Carter said that on his Christmas vacation on his first
year in college, he had become an expert on the birds and the bees.
Biology was his major, and after a semester in the freshman class, he was
certain that he knew more biology than most adults did in his hometown …
including his minister. A few days before Christmas, he stopped in to see
him. He received him warmly and asked how he had fared in his first
semester. “Okay,” he replied, avoiding the subject of his mediocre grades.
But then he told his pastor, “I’ve come home with some questions.”
“Really?” the pastor replied. “Like what?”
“Like the virgin birth. I’ve taken a lot of biology, as you know,” which
meant one semester in which he received a B-, “and I think this whole
business of a virgin birth doesn’t make much sense to me. It doesn’t fit
with what I have learned in biology class.”
“What’s the problem?” he asked.
“There had to be a father,” he announced. “Either it was Joseph or
His pastor looked at him with a coy smile and said, “How can you be so sure?”
“Oh, come on,” he said. “That’s not the way it works. There had to be a
His pastor didn’t back down. Instead he said something that Carter said
he’ll never forget: “So — why not God?”
Why not, indeed? The more we learn, the harder it is to swallow a lot of
things that once seemed so palatable. Advent is a season of wonder and
mystery. We tell our children stories at this time of year that we would
never dare tell when it is warmer and there is more sunlight. The really
wise child is the kid who knows how to shut his mouth even when he has a
few doubts. But sometimes it is hard to do, especially when you have a
whole four months of college behind you.
William G. Carter, Praying for a Whole New World, CSS Publishing Company.
Joy to the World
Consider the story of one young man. Sick and puny as a baby, he remained
frail and delicate all his days. Later, as a pastor, his maladies were so
severe that he could not serve his growing congregation. Instead he wrote
them letters filled with hope and good cheer. Even though his body was
frail his spirit soared. He complained once about the harsh and uncouth
hymn texts of his day. Someone challenged him to write a better one. He
did. He wrote over 600 hymns, mostly hymns of praise. When his health
finally broke in 1748 he left one of the most remarkable collections of
hymns that the world has ever known. His name? Isaac Watts. His
contribution to the Christmas season? Probably the most sung of all the
Christmas hymns, “Joy to the World; the Lord is come.”
Could Isaac Watts have written so, if his life had been easy? I don’t
know. It is amazing, though, how often persons who have everything are
spiritual zeroes, whereas those who struggle through life have souls with
both depth and height.
King Duncan, Collected Sermons, www.Sermons.com
Walk or Fly
A little girl, dressed as an angel, in a Christmas pageant was told to
come down the center aisle. The child asked, “Do you want me to walk or
fly?” You feel as though she almost could have flown. Don’t ever lose the
wonder and mystery of Christmas.
Every year I’m reminded of those words of the late Peter Marshall: “When
Christmas doesn’t make your heart swell up until it nearly bursts and fill
your eyes with tears and make you all soft and warm inside then you will
know that something inside of you is dead.”
James T. Garrett, God’s Gift, CSS Publishing Company.
God Is the Happiest Being in the Universe
Perhaps we need Santa at Christmas to help us be merry and joyous because
we have a flawed understanding of Jesus. From today’s gospel text we learn
that the first reaction to Jesus’ presence on earth, of God-in-our-midst,
was joy. Joy so tremendous, joy so utterly overwhelming that it must
somehow escape the bounds of earth itself and jump towards the heavens.
In John Ortberg’s wonderful book The Life You’ve Always Wanted, he writes:
We will not understand God until we understand this about him: “God is the
happiest being in the universe” (G. K. Chesterton). God knows sorrow.
Jesus is remembered, among other things, as a ‘man of sorrows, and
acquainted with grief.’ But the sorrow of God, like the anger of God, is
his temporary response to a fallen world. That sorrow will be banished
forever from his heart on the day the world is set right. Joy is God’s
basic character. God is the happiest being in the universe.
Joy is what makes Christmas. Each of us may look to some annual family
tradition to trigger that joy. But the trees, the carols, the cookies, the
presents, the parties, are only various expressions of a single experience
of the spirit JOY born again into our souls.
Leonard Sweet, Collected Sermons, www.Sermons.com
Slow Down and Welcome Christmas
“The Christmas spirit comes on me more slowly than it used to,” writes
Joan Mills, a mother of three children, in her book Christmas Coming. “But
it comes, it comes. Middle-aged (most of the time) and jaded (some of the
time), I complain of plastic sentiment, days too brief, bones too weary.
Scrooge stands at my elbow muttering, “Bah!” and “Humbug!” as I total the
bills. But when I acknowledge the child I once was (and still am,
somewhere within), the spirit of Christmas irresistibly descends.”
“For Christmas is truly for children those we have, and those we have been
ourselves. It is the keeping-place for memories of our age in lovely
ritual and simplicities.
“I’m tired,” I say fretfully. “There’s just too much to do! Must we make
so much of Christmas?” “Yes!” they say flatly.
“But bayberry, pine and cinnamon scent the shadowed room. Snow lies in
quiet beauty outside. I hear someone downstairs turning on the tree lights
while another admires. I lie very still in the dark. From the church in
the village on the far side of the woods, carillon notes fall faint and
sweet on winter clear air.
“Silent night,” my heart repeats softly. Holy night. All is calm All is
“As I take the stairs lightly going down, no bones weary now, my whole
self is thankful; once again, I am flooded with the certainty (call it
faith) that there’s goodness in the world, and love endures.”
Leonard Sweet, adapting Joan Mills, Collected Sermons, www.Sermons.com
Pick Up the Baby
Sam Levenson tells a wonderful story about the birth of his first child.
The first night home the baby would not stop crying. His wife frantically
flipped through the pages of Dr. Spock to find out why babies cry and what
to do about it. Since Spock’s book is rather long, the baby cried a long
time. Grandma was in the house, but since she had not read the books on
childrearing, she was not consulted. The baby continued to cry. Finally,
Grandma could be silent no longer. “Put down the book,” she told her
children, “and pick up the baby.”
Good advice. Put down the book and pick up the baby. Spend time with your
children. Particularly at Christmastime. We have the mistaken notion that
good parents give their children lots of things. Wrong.
In a survey done of fifteen thousand schoolchildren the question was
asked, “What do you think makes a happy family?” When the kids answered,
they didn’t list a big house, fancy cars, or new video games as the source
of happiness. The most frequently given answer was “doing things
together.” Notice the joy with which Mary and Elizabeth greeted the news
of their pregnancy.
King Duncan, Collected Sermons, www.Sermons.com