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December sermons can be based throughout Scripture, remain connected to Christmas

NASHVILLE (BP) — Tyler Armstrong’s sermon series this month started off with a different take on some treasured carols.

“Hark! The herald angels sing; a dragon waits to devour the king,” he said from the pulpit of Woodward Avenue Baptist Church in Muscle Shoals, Ala., on Dec. 3.

Not finished, he added another.

“Silent night, violent night, heaven and hell meet to fight.”

The message is “War in Heaven,” based in Revelation 12:1-12 and the opening sermon for the series “The Dragon, the Woman, and the Child.” Additional messages for Sunday mornings include “War for Humanity” (Genesis 3), “War on Earth” (Matthew 2,4) and “The Invasion Begins” (Matthew 2).

Christmas Eve’s message will be “Freedom Through the Coming of the Son,” based in Galatians 4:4-7. The series wraps up on Dec. 31 with the rest of Revelation 12 in “The Woman vs. the Dragon: Our current battle.”

The Christmas season can often be a time of seeing new visitors in church, whether college students home on break or those simply being drawn to a closer walk with God. And while Luke 2 remains central for telling the story of Jesus’ birth, the Gospel is recorded throughout Scripture.

Armstrong, preaching his first Advent season as a senior pastor, pointed to C.S. Lewis’ description of the Incarnation as Jesus coming to “enemy-occupied territory.” The rightful king has arrived and inviting others to join Him.

“Revelation 12 is the picture of the invasion, as a dragon waits to devour the child,” Armstrong said. “But the Child is victorious and the dragon is defeated.

“How is this child victorious? Through His life, death and resurrection. That’s the story of Christmas. Our God is victorious over sin and death.”

Luke Holmes recently became pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Duncan, Okla., and will focus on the themes of joy, peace, hope and love for his first Christmas with the congregation.

John 3:16 will be the background on the love of God, he said.

“It is a familiar verse and one of the simplest explanations of the Gospel,” he said. “The verse tells us the reason for God’s love, the object of his love and what should be our response to the love of God.”

Christ’s birth can be seen in the same theme.

“One of the best things pastors can do is just tell the old story as simply and plainly as we can,” said Holmes.

Matt Shown, pastor of Crossroads Fellowship in Cadiz, Ky., is preaching through the Book of Ruth for Advent.

“While this may seem like an unorthodox choice, Ruth really brings together a number of Christmas themes,” he said.

He described Ruth as “sort of like the original Hallmark Christmas movie, only with a much less predictable plotline.” Shown added that the book explores the subject of suffering and God’s response to it.

“We see God at work in a world that had gone crazy. Ruth also explores themes of love and friendship,” Shown said.

Ruth’s place in the lineage of Jesus draws a direct connection to Christmas.

 “Through Ruth would come the baby in a manger.  And that baby is the One who helps make sense of all suffering and gives the ultimate example of covenant faithfulness to those He loves,” Shown said.

Jerome Stockert’s series in John aims to point out that Jesus is the reason for every season. A central theme will be John 3:30, where John says, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Stockert is the campus missionary for the Baptist Student Union at the University of Central Missouri. Currently he is serving as interim pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Windsor, Mo.

“The reality is that Jesus is the reason for every single day of our life,” he said. “Therefore, He must increase in our lives while we, and all else, must decrease.”

Like Armstrong, Pastor Mark Goree of Immanuel Baptist Church in Hammond, La., is finishing up a study in Revelation, though his began seven months ago. The series title is “The Time is Near” with the Christmas Eve message being “Unto Us.”

That sermon will deviate out of Revelation and be in Isaiah 9:6 and Isaiah 53.

“It will be a reading pertaining to what Christ went through for us in our stead,” Goree explained. “I always reserve the last words spoken to the church before Christmas Day for evangelism.”