Writing a sermon every week is an enlightening, exhausting, sometimes frustrating, always humbling task. Every pastor uses a unique process to come up with a sermon; here's mine. Knowing the topic/theme for several weeks before I actually preach the sermon, I read, study, and look for every bit of information on the topic. About 2 weeks before the sermon I start compiling everything into 1 document which usually ends up being 15 to 25 pages long. From there I'll spend the final week whittling the information down to a manageable 5 pages or so, specifically focusing on the "one thing" I'm trying to say. On Saturday night I'll spend 3 or 4 hours simply rolling everything around asking God to show me exactly what He wants me to say. Right now I have about 90 minutes on Sunday morning to finalize all of my thoughts. (I usually preach off of a loose outline with quotes and scriptures.) Why am I telling you all of this? Because many times, on Sunday morning, God shows me something else!

Now, as a former worship pastor, this can be a problem! Let me insert very quickly that A) I have an INCREDIBLE worship pastor who puts up with a lot from me, and I'm thankful for his flexibility! B) We have great volunteers who are comfortable with "going with the flow." C) I don't ever make wholesale changes that undermine what we've already built for the service.

That being said to set the stage from this past Sunday ...

As I was preparing to talk about the "Peace of Christmas," God gave me a resource that was perfect for the end of the message. And, as He often does, He delivered it to me on Sunday morning after I THOUGHT I knew what I wanted to say!

Instead of bullet-pointing the sermon thoughts like normal, just check out the following link to a wonderful video about Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his writing of one of my favorite Christmas songs, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day," as told by actor Ed Herrman and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

I'll admit that this is a bit "off" from my normal tastes, but hey, I'm an eclectic guy! Enjoy ... and Merry Christmas:

Ed Herrman with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Longfellow's Christmas