Christmas is upon us, and like last year, the world is—different. Yet students are still coming home for the holidays, and families are (mostly) still gathering. Amid the uncertainty, people are looking for comfort and even direction. It’s a vital time for solid, gospel-focused preaching.
Below we offer some unexpected Christmas texts worth using—plus some tips for how Logos can help you discover new Christmas sermon ideas. Plus, we’ll share why recording and archiving your Christmas sermon should be top of mind.
Start below with 10 unique Scripture passages to consider for your message—or hop to one of the following:
- 2 ways Logos can help you discover fresh Christmas sermon ideas
- 3 reasons why you should record your sermon this Christmas
10 unexpected Christmas sermon texts worth using
While the Matthew and Luke narratives are timeless Christmas sermons waiting to be preached, numerous other passages in Scripture can draw out themes and nuances often neglected.
Here are 10 to use as a starting point.
1. Genesis 3:15
Often considered the first Messianic prophecy recorded in Scripture, this verse finds its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus—the offspring of a woman, who eventually crushes Satan. Genesis 3:15 predicts the seed who would come to uproot the thorns and break the curse of sin.
2. Genesis 49:8–12
Toward the end of Genesis, Jacob speaks a word of prophecy over each of his sons. He promises Judah, from whom Jesus would ultimately descend, that the scepter will not depart from him. Jacob calls Judah “a lion’s cub,” and Scripture goes on to call Jesus the Lion from the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5). This unique passage offers an opportunity to reflect on Jesus’ supreme authority, which he holds even when he is just a cub.
3. Exodus 1:1–2:10
There are striking parallels between Moses’ infancy and Jesus’. Both are born in humble circumstances. Both escape murderous plots of evil rulers. Both grow up to lead their people out of captivity. This passage can help your congregation appreciate the way the Bible holds together, as well as see God’s sovereign hand in preserving a mediator for his people.
4. Exodus 16
This is the narrative of God providing manna and quail for Israel as they wander in the desert. God sends bread from heaven, and in John 6 Jesus explicitly refers to this story and calls himself the “bread of life.” God sent eternal bread to hungry wanderers in the form of his Son, making this Exodus event a rich foreshadowing. You can capture the imagination of a congregation—and follow the homiletical example of Christ himself—by drawing parallels between the physical hunger of Israel in the desert and the spiritual hunger of all those without Christ.
5. Exodus 33:12–23
In one of the most beautiful scenes of Exodus, Moses pleads boldly and personally to the Lord for his presence. The Lord honors Moses by agreeing to reveal his goodness and glory—but not his face. In the incarnation, however, God is fully revealed, and his presence is offered to all who receive him. This intimate moment Moses experiences with God is made available to all through Christ—but we will see him “face to face” (1 John 3:2; 1 Cor. 13:12).
6. 2 Samuel 7
In this famous covenant God makes with David, God promises that his offspring’s throne will be established forever. Eventually, the kingdom divides and falls, and by the time Jesus comes riding into Jerusalem on a donkey—several hundred years and two exiles later—the throne is still not established. So when the crowds shout “Hosanna to the Son of David!”, they are heralding this covenant: they are hoping for a king. Joy is bursting from under sorrow long-held because Hope has come. The incarnation offers the same “thrill of hope” today.
7. Psalm 27
At the end of this psalm, David writes, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Christians today can repeat these words only because Christ has come and has promised to come again. Like Anna and Simeon, who in their old age finally beheld the hope they waited so long for (Luke 2:22–38), those who hope in Christ will not be disappointed.
8. Isaiah, various
Isaiah is chock-full of references to the coming Messiah. Chapter 7 speaks of a virgin who will conceive and bear a son, whose name will be called “Immanuel”—God with us. Chapter 9 provides a brief portrait of this Son-King, and it continues throughout Isaiah, such as in chapters 11, 40–43, 49, and 58. Preachers could do a tour through Isaiah to fill out the portrait of the Messiah and then juxtapose the majesty described there to the humility displayed in the manger, leading to a reflection on God’s wisdom in working mightily through humble means.
9. Angel appearances
Another interesting choice would be to preach on various angel appearances in Scripture. From the beginning of Old Testament history to its end—from Abraham to Daniel—angel appearances tend to coincide with God’s revelation and rescue. So when angels burst onto the scene in Luke and Matthew, we know from past behavior that God is up to something big, something miraculous and merciful. Preaching through some of these angel appearances would build that sense of anticipation and provide texture to Jesus’ birth story. Consider Genesis 16, 19, 21, and 31–32; Deuteronomy 33:2 (see Ps. 68:17; Acts 7:53; and Gal. 3:19); 1 Kings 19; and Daniel 3 and 6.
10. Matthew 1:1–17 (plus vv. 18–23)
Jesus’ family tree is a bit scandalous—and the attention is justified. For one, it’s not common for genealogies in patriarchal societies such as Israel’s to mention women. It’s even more surprising, then, that when Matthew does, it’s to bring up memories that any family would rather forget, such as incestuous rape (Judah and Tamar, v. 3), prostitution (Rahab, v. 5), and adultery and murder (David and the wife of Uriah, v. 6). What’s the point of recalling such a sordid past? It’s probably to remind readers of God’s power to work beauty from ashes, to bring redemption from a family—and to the family—that desperately needs it. The genealogy provides an excellent opportunity to proclaim how the incarnation means all our stories can be rewritten in Jesus.
Scripture is full of rivers and streams that flow to Jesus. These are just a sample of texts you can use for Christmas without bending them to be about the incarnation.
2 ways Logos can help you discover fresh Christmas sermon ideas
If you’re already planning on recording your Christmas sermon but have exhausted your vault of message ideas (and none of the above piqued your interest), here are two ways Logos can help.
1. Find passage-based Christmas sermon ideas.
Logos Sermon Starter Guide makes it easy to brainstorm fresh Christmas sermon topics—or any sort of sermon.
Let’s say you want to preach about the birth of Jesus in Matthew 1:18–25. There’s a lot of content in those eight verses—and lots of potential message ideas. A few clicks in the Sermon Starter guide can help you narrow your topic.
Simply open the Sermon Starter guide, type Matthew 1:18–25 into the search box, expand the Thematic Outlines section—and you’ll find a list of related ideas. Clicking on one opens up more topics that can help spawn new Christmas sermon ideas, like Angels as God’s messengers, Divinity of Jesus Christ, or Jesus Christ, prophecies concerning.
For example, clicking “Angels as God’s messengers,” opens up a scriptural overview of the messages angels relay. You can then zero in on one of these passages and compare it to the message the angel gives Zechariah—yet another sermon idea!
And just like that, you have five Christmas sermon ideas to work with:
- Just how human was baby Jesus? (Jesus: Humanity theme)
- What makes this baby special? (Jesus: Divinity theme)
- Did Mary and Joseph see Christmas coming? (Prophecy: Jesus)
- God’s message from God’s messengers (Thematic outline on angels)
- The true story of Jesus’ birth (thematic outline on Jesus’ birth)
2. Find theme-based Christmas sermon ideas.
What if you want to find some Christmas sermon ideas but don’t have a particular starting verse in mind? Because the Sermon Starter works with themes as well as passages, you can type in a word like “Christmas,” and Logos suggests a theme—in this case, “Jesus’ Birth”:
Wow—plenty of sermon ideas here! The second set of ideas links to the Topic Guide, where you’ll find relevant Scripture and background information.
Notice the first key passage points to Isaiah 9:6–7. In that passage, you can open the Bible Word Study to understand what “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Eternal Father,” and “Prince of Peace” mean. More sermon ideas.
Now you have five more starting points for your Christmas sermon:
- What is the origin of Advent?
- Jesus: God in the flesh
- The original nativity
- Star of wonder, Star of light
- Four more names for baby Jesus
The Sermon Starter Guide makes it easy to come up with Christmas sermon ideas—or any sermon ideas—and it brings to light some concepts you may not have thought about otherwise. You’ll find all the tools to do this in Logos Starter and higher.
3 reasons why you should record your sermon this Christmas
Christmas is a season of opportunity you don’t want to miss, and no matter what you preach on, your sermon doesn’t end when the service does . . .
. . . if you record it.
Here are three reasons why it’s well worth your time to record and upload your sermons this Christmas.
1. People may be missing church
Between travel, winter colds, and other surprises that make Christmas a busy time of year, many people are missing church. But they still want to be spiritually fed.
Sermon podcasting is an easy way to meet that need. Someone can easily listen anytime throughout the week. If small groups are discussing the sermon, anyone can still participate even if they miss church. Whole families can set aside time to hear a missed sermon. You don’t know who may be missing church or why, so make the sermon readily available.
2. It’s an evangelism opportunity
With an uptick in non-Christians attending Christmas services, you may be preaching with their needs in mind more than usual.
Perhaps you’re careful to avoid Christian jargon. Maybe you take your time explaining certain concepts, or you select a passage with powerful imagery that you know will resonate. Chances are your preparation will result in a message that’s ideal for someone who’s never heard the gospel.
For this reason, you’ll be glad you recorded and posted your sermon. People in your church might see it as a great resource for unchurched family or friends. Perhaps a non-Christian who was at your service will listen to the sermon again so they can keep pondering what you said.
Record and publish your sermon, because you never know how God may use it to draw more hearts to himself.
3. You’ll have a self-contained sermon or short series
Pastors often schedule their preaching calendar so their Christmas message is a one-off sermon or the climax of a brief series.
That means you end up with a nice self-contained sermon or series (and yep—you can easily use that for your podcast).
This is good because people often look for sermons they can listen to without feeling like they’re jumping into the middle of a long series, the same way you wouldn’t hop into the middle of a book or television show.
Having something listeners can access right away is helpful, and it may whet their appetite to explore even more sermons, so they continue to feed on God’s word.
This Christmas, take time to get your sermon recording—and podcasting—set up. It’s actually much easier than you think. (From Logos, you can prep and preach, then send your slides to Proclaim, record your sermon, and push to podcast.)
Publishing your sermons requires a minimal time investment, but it will pay big dividends, and the sermons you’re preaching this season may be ideally suited for podcasting.
Why keep them offline?