While the rest of America gets into the joyous spirit of Christmas, I’m still working on that stupid list.
You know the one I’m talking about. It’s the one your spouse, parents, aunts, mother-in-law, and assorted relatives request about the end of October. “So, what do you want for Christmas this year anyway? Just send me a list.”
It seems so simple, but getting there is the problem. How do I decide what I want for Christmas? Every time I’m honest — “Well, this year I’d like a new mini-van and a trip to the south of France” — they chuckle and say, “No, really, just make a list of what you want for Christmas.” Yes, really …. that is what I want!
So I try to get practical (i.e., boring) and list things like shirts, underwear, and socket wrench sets. (Actually, I’ve never owned a socket wrench set, and certainly wouldn’t know what to do with it if I had one, but it sounds like a nice Christmas gift, don’t you think?) I never list handkerchiefs, but somehow they slip into the gift mix anyway. I didn’t know they still made handkerchiefs (didn’t the Kleenex people buy them all out and close the factories a few years ago?), but somehow they keep showing up under Christmas trees everywhere.
Anyway, I’m still at work on my list. In fact, I’ve decided to share a portion of my 1993 Christmas list with you — just in case you’ve recently won the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes and are feeling generous.
1. The Perfect Illustration. This is the one that produces laughter and tears simultaneously, and offers an ideal introduction and/or conclusion to virtually any sermon. No more pulling out that dusty old 600,000 Favorite Sermon Illustrations on Saturday night; this one will work every time in every setting.
2. The New and Improved Voice. Unfortunately, I was born with a regular, everyday voice like most mortals. What I’d really like is one of those rich, resonant baritones that preachers like Lloyd Ogilvie or Joel Gregory have. (I suppose they were smart enough to include this item on their lift at a much younger age.) And if you can add a Scottish accent as well, that would be even better.
3. A Million More Preaching Readers. OK, so maybe a million isn’t very practical. Let’s look at this like an old-fashioned revival (the “pack-a-pew” principle): if every one of our 10,000 readers goes out and recruits another subscriber, we’ll be at 20,000 in just one year! Then we extrapolate it out like those denominational evangelism folks do: if each of those 20,000 readers enlists another the next year, and each of them enlists another the following year, in about four years every one of the preachers in America (over 300,000 in all) will be faithful Preaching readers.
And best of all, I wouldn’t be bothering you with any more Christmas lists.

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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