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What to Do with Christmas and Easter?

By December 11, 2009June 20th, 20148 Comments

Jesus Story GraphicLike many of you, I plan out my preaching calendar for the year and typically I rotate between preaching through a book of the Bible and then the occasional topical series in between. But what do you do when those “interruptions” like Easter and Christmas roll around? 

Sometimes I just keep preaching through the series I’m currently working through and will give acknowledgement to the special day through some sort of special music or event in the service. Other times, like this year, I am interrupting my preaching series with a series titled, “The Jesus Story.” Two years ago I preached a series in December titled, “The Story of Light.” During Easter, however, I have not preached a series leading up to Easter, but I almost always give a Resurrection themed message on Easter morning.

I’d like to hear from you. If you are a preacher, what do you typically do during those special events like Easter and Christmas? If you are not a preacher, you might be able to give us an even better perspective. What do you prefer? Do you like it when a preacher adjusts his preaching schedule to give attention to Easter and Christmas, or do you find it more beneficial for the pastor to keep preaching through his given series?

Give me your feedback . . .


  • I think it would be a shame not to “break” from a preaching schedule for Christmas and Easter. These two holidays give us a chance to communicate the central aspects of our faith and theology to church members and visitors (more than usual) alike.

    There is a part of me that wonders if we don’t miss out on opportunities to communicate more about our theology by not using the Christian church schedule for holidays.

  • Gary Collins says:

    Scott is exactly right.

    I always enjoy writing a sermon series for Christmas. The ones I remember most:
    “The Three Wise Women” (Anna, Elizabeth, and Mary)
    “Three Trips to Bethlehem” (Ruth, Samuel to anoint David, and the obvious Christmas message.)

    This year, I am focusing on the spoken words:
    Of Zechariah (after he regained the ability to speak)
    Of Mary (when she arrived at home of Elizabeth)
    Of the angel (to the shepherds)

    My first year as pastor I enjoyed preaching Christmas so much I continued on the life of Christ all the way to Easter, then I preached for another month about what He has been doing since!

  • I think its a planning issue. I’ve found it isn’t that difficult to have my sermons laid out 1 year in advance (or more, I actually work off of a 2-year plan). Of course, things remain subject to change, and nothing is fixed in stone. When we make a long-term plan it is quite easy to plan for C&E without having to interrupt the current series (just plan to have the series end before those seasons).

    But, this doesn’t always work out perfectly. For example we are currently going through Hebrews 11, which was planned to be finished this morning (Sunday, Dec 13th), yet I still have 2 more sermons to go before we finish the chapter. Several weeks ago we had to jockey around some things and the series got out of whack. Such is life.

    But I still think C&E are too important to sideline. Yet I would apply this to only those two seasons. I have no problem blowing by other holidays.

  • Greg White says:

    Thanks for a great topic for discussion. Having been in the ministry a number of years I still struggle with jumping out of my book study or other series for special holidays. (It’s comfortable to stay there.) Holiday preaching is hardest for me to prepare. It is difficult to convey with freshness the same things people have heard for years. Having said that, I do leave my preaching series for a special message or mini-series for both holidays. As difficult as holiday sermon preparation is for me, my preaching calendar always reflects these holidays. These are very special times for our people who enjoy holiday preaching, anticipate something special, and seem especially responsive. I sometimes consider doing the same thing for other holidays for the same reasons.

  • David King says:

    It is a great privilege to preach on the birth and resurrection of our Savior, but for the preacher who works through texts on a regular basis these indispensable truths are covered far more often than just Christmas and Easter.

    I appreciate the discussion.

  • Jamie Hart says:

    I agree with Greg White that preaching through a series brings a great deal of comfort. I don’t have to spend time deciding WHAT I’m going to preach…it’s the next portion of the book! So holiday preaching always brings a little bit of frustration. On my preaching calendar, I have most every Sunday detailed…but with December I have “Christmas Messages” which means I have to decide exactly what I’m going to do when the time comes! Probably not the best planning method! This year the mini-series is called “Lifting up the Christ of Christmas” and we are focusing on key Christology passages. 1-Col. 1:16-ff; 2 – John 1:1-5; 3-Phil. 2; and so on. What a JOY to focus on Christ and lift Him up…especially since our world is working hard at providing “alternatives” (Kwanzaa, Solstice, “The Holidays”,etc.)

    I also get a little grief for not always preaching Father’s Day and/or Mother’s Day messages. If they keep it up, I’m going to throw them all in…Labor Day, President’s Day, Human Rights Day, Boxing Day…

  • Dick Dayton says:

    Dave, I once preached “The Seven Sayings Of Jesus On The Cross” in the weeks preceeding Easter. I do not usually take so long to build up, but found the extra study challenging and refreshing. This year, I invested the four weeks of December looking at some of the more unsavory, unappreciated, or socially marginal characters in the Matthew 1 passage. It gave an opportunity to talk about evangelism, repentance, the overpowering grace of God, warnings about sin in our lives, and the encouragement that God will accomplish His purposes. Dick Dayton

  • David King says:

    I like that idea on the seven sayings of Jesus on the Cross and the study in Matthew 1 sounds interesting. Thanks for the helpful comments!

    I was just laying out the sermon titles for the next 4 months as I finish up 1 Corinthians and this year it just so happens that I’m 5 weeks in 1 Corinthians talking about the resurrection during February and March. That works perfectly for Easter…The Lord works in mysterious ways.

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