Get Ready for Preaching through the Incarnation and the Second Coming

Posted On November 12, 2019

The glory of “God with us” shines brightest when lit beneath the things most seemingly God-abandoned.

That is why I love Advent. Advent has the power to turn over the inconceivable to discover the unimaginable. I especially love preaching Advent. No literary work explains my passion for preaching Advent like W.H. Auden’s For the Time Being. A New York Times reporter captured the aim of the great poet in his review:

“[Auden’s] verses undercut grandiloquence with the mundane and the conversational. In ‘For the Time Being’ he brought this gift to the Christmas theme of the Incarnation, God’s taking on the humblest of forms, power and vulnerability fused, the sacredness of the mundane.”— “Beliefs,” By Peter Steinfels (New York Times, Dec. 22, 1990; for the award-winning book-length poem, see For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio” (1942), which can be read in full in W.H. Auden: Collected Poems).

Auden’s insights help me to look for clues to the Incarnation in the most unlikely places. And this is precisely what I want to accomplish for the flock of Jesus before me. I have always felt that those who have grown tired of Christmas are those most in need of the Preacher’s art.

Pastors, it’s time now to begin preparations for Advent and Christmas . . . 2020!
That’s right. Your sermon and service planning should be done with the year before. But it is time, now, for sermon preparation for this year. Remember:

  • Sermon Planning is an essential pastoral duty wth a long-term viewer (, the coming year, three years, I.e., lectionary selections).
  • Sermon Preparation is an essential pastoral duty with a more immediate view (e.g., the coming week).

There is no greater time for you as a pastor:

  • To teach the doctrine of the Holy Scriptures in their prophetic accuracy.
  • To preach the glory of Christ anticipated in the Old Testament.
  • To reach hearts with the compelling Story of stories.
  • To preach through the doctrines of Christ’s Person and Work.
  • To preach on how common things (livestock, innkeepers, shepherds or laborers, stars, or nobility) become uncommon instruments for bringing Christ to others.
  • To preach the reason that Jesus came.
  • To preach on His Second Coming.
  • Shine this Advent. Shine with joy, love, and an eagerness to bring Jesus Christ to your community in Word—preached, prayed, sung—Sacrament, and Prayer.
    There is no time like the time being.


Advent Readings and Lightings: Pastoral Preparations for the Season of Incarnation and Second Coming by Michael A. Milton:

Pick up a copy of “For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio” (1942), which can be read in full in W.H. Auden: Collected Poems.

Related Posts

The Meaning And Purpose Of The Righteousness Of God

The Meaning And Purpose Of The Righteousness Of God

On today’s episode, a listener writes in and asks Dave, “What is the righteousness of God? What you’ll hear in this episode Why the righteousness of God means that He always acts in accordance with what is right because He is the final standard of what is right. Why...

Romans 1:1-6

Romans 1:1-6

Join Andy in episode one of the By His Grace Bible podcast as he looks at Romans 1:1-6 in his series through the epistle of Romans.

The Injustice of Social Justice?

The Injustice of Social Justice?

Western culture is being shaken. It is a time of significant social instability. The death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police has unleashed a torrent of rage. Large segments of our society are demonstrating, even rioting, for something enigmatically...

Dull of Hearing

Dull of Hearing

Hebrews 5:11-12, “About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not...

The Holy Spirit and Common Grace

The Holy Spirit and Common Grace

The second volume of “Great Doctrines of the Bible” by Martyn Lloyd-Jones (MLJ) focuses on the person and work of the Holy Spirit. We examined the person and the deity of the Holy Spirit in the first two chapters, now we’ll begin looking at the work of the Spirit in...


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.