I have been in vocational ministry for 17 years, yet Sunday will be a “first” for me. For the first time in my life, I will be preaching on the Sunday before Christmas. I know this may not seem all that interesting to anyone other than me, but it means a lot to me.
As someone who has preached hundreds of messages, I no longer have the same amount of stress each time I speak . . . but anytime a “first” comes up, the nerves still flow drawing me right back to a series of other “firsts” in my ministry life:
- I still remember the first sermon I preached at Ovilla United Methodist Church, the first major ministry job I ever held . . . I stayed up all night writing and rewriting the message, wanting it to be “perfect.” It wasn’t, but God was still good!
- On another instance, I remember speaking at an OU Campus Crusade meeting for the first time after moving back to Norman. I was so nervous that night, and felt I totally botched the message (incidentally a friend of mine trusted Christ that night . . . a steady reminder to me that God is at work in our weaknesses).
So as I prepare for Sunday, I can already feel the butterflies fluttering. However, I am so thankful that God has given me a great gift this week in my preparation. Earlier this week I was reading the end of Luke 1 and reflecting on Zechariah’s song of praise that he sung at the circumcision ceremony of his son John the Baptist. Though Zechariah had waited a long time to finally see a son of his born, he chose to sing about Jesus (not just John) when given the chance in Luke 1:67-79. He took the new opportunity of parenthood and focused his attention on the gift God was giving the world in Jesus.
I say reading this passage was a gift to me, because I was struggling with exactly what to talk about on Sunday. Obviously I wanted to talk about the Christmas story, but what part, and exactly what to say? Seeing Zechariah take his “first” and sing of the gift of Jesus focused my thoughts on what I believe God wants us to hear on Sunday. Further events that have transpired in life this week have only intensified my belief that God has something great for us in the last two verses of Zech’s song, Luke 1:78-79. We will be reflecting on those verses together at Wildwood Community Church on Sunday, December 22 in both our 9:30 and 10:50 services. We would love the chance to worship with you this Christmas!
Also, this Sunday at Wildwood, there are a few other exciting things:
- We will be singing together 3 classic Christmas carols: “Angels we have heard on high,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “What Child is This?” I love to sing this time of year . . . don’t you?
- Our pianist, Andre Leone, will be playing a special offertory arrangement of a Christmas carol. For a sample of Andre’s work and to download his Christmas album, click here.
- Our worship team will be concluding the worship service with their incredible version of “Carol of the Bells” — a Wildwood tradition.
- We have a very, very special announcement to make in the service as well . . .
Please, do not miss this Sunday!!