When Sunday and Christmas Collide

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Some folks are actually advocating skipping church this Christmas to make Christmas GREAT again!

You probably think I’m talking about:
a. the group, “American Atheists,” (and true, the group is putting the above billboard up in at least five major cities), or
b. the Taliban, or
c. Santa, at the end of Rudolph when he cancels Christmas because of the blizzard, or
d. all of China (communists hate Christmas).

But that’s not who I’m talking about at all.

Every so often, Christmas Day falls on a Sunday. And even though the other 51 weeks a year, churches all across America gather to praise the name of Jesus no matter what, when Sunday and Christmas collide, some churches feel the need to cancel Sunday worship so that the true meaning of Christmas can be experienced in all its fantastic, fabulous glory (I  understand if your church is meeting in a school or the church is small and all the members are traveling, etc).

Why? Because you know…Christmas is about family, and presents, and eggnog and Santa Claus! That’s what the atheists argue, and by action (which speak louder than words) so does the Church when it cancels the exact thing it does every other week of every year.

starbucks
This is satire, people. And funny.

Which is so strange. Especially when you consider that in recent years we’ve heard a lot of moaning about the secularization of Christmas, the war on Christmas, stores not allowing employees to say, “Merry Christmas”, and even the “Christless Coffee Cup Christmas” at Starbucks.

Why would churches cancel worship on Sunday morning when it collides with Christmas?

1. Is it because the Bible declares we must? 
No. Read it a few times, haven’t seen it in there.

2. Is it because Christians all over the world are crying out, “We can’t go to church Christmas Eve AND Christmas morning!” or, “Too much worship!” or, “The stores are closed on Christmas! Why can’t we??”
I’ve literally never, ever, ever, ever heard anyone say any of those things. I’ve not talked to “everyone” so I might have missed a comment.

3. Is it because folks need time to marvel at Santa’s empty cookie plate, open presents, eat, and still have time to go to the movies?
Maybe. But I haven’t heard anyone express that.

Honestly, the only folks I’ve heard or read about verbally saying, “Let’s cancel Sunday worship if it falls on Sunday” are ministers and pastors.

I’ve heard/read of pastors saying they need to cancel church on Sunday when it collides with Christmas, because they just worshiped on Christmas Eve, and it’s really hard for the volunteers and the pastors! Not as hard as being beheaded by ISIS for your faith or being a Christian in Saudi Arabia or India, but really, really hard (insert crying face emoji).

50 years ago, most churches had worship and preaching on Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. In 1957 Billy Graham preached 100 times over 110 days. It was his longest crusade. And heaven grew by over 57,000 souls.

But Christmas Eve and Christmas Sunday is hard?

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I think there are some fantastic reasons why you should worship on Sunday when it’s December 25th:

#1. When the church opens it’s door on Sunday, Dec. 25th, even after a slew of Christmas Eve services – many, many people show up! Because they love the opportunity to do Christmas Day in a way that celebrates Jesus. Why would you want to cancel an opportunity for (in many cases) over half of a congregation to worship Jesus at your regular time?

#2. For many people, Christmas as a, “family holiday” is a lonely time, filled with depression and sadness and heartache. The opportunity to worship the real reason is a healing and heart filling activity. For me, this is the biggest reason NOT to cancel: to minister to people.

#3. Cancelling makes the Church look silly and inconsequential. It says, “We’ve bought into the secularization of Christmas and the idol of family over Jesus just like everyone else, but we talk a good game!” It’s hard to take seriously the church’s message from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve that, “Jesus is the reason for the season” and if we then say, “except when day we’ve designated to celebrate His birth falls on Sunday! Then all bets are off!!”

It’s kind of like telling someone you love, “I’m celebrating your birthday by NOT coming to your party!”

Either worship of Jesus is THE big deal (sure is in Revelation), or it’s not.

#4. It’s an opportunity for the church! It’s a blessing for the church! Not a burden. You get an extra day thrown in for free!

#5. It’s what true blue followers of Jesus have done for 2000 years (the canceling gig is a recent phenomenon-like only in the last 20 of the last 2000 years).

Here’s how I heard a fellow 9th grader explain it many years ago.

Our class divided into groups of three to write something about the meaning of Christmas (long time ago and still allowed some in public schools).

Girl 1: Well Christmas is about family and getting together.
Me (inside my head because I didn’t want to stir the pot): That’s crazy! It’s about Jesus! Who told you that?!!
Girl 2 (who was not a Christian at that time): That’s insane! Christmas isn’t about family! Christmas is about Jesus – God came down from heaven and was born in a manger! Don’t you know anything??
Me: Uh…yeah, what she said (internally relieved that someone spoke up while simultaneously embarrassed by what a total wuss I was).

If you need a little more explanation, click herelinusLinus will make it crystal clear.

So…to recap:
a. December 25th has been celebrated for centuries as the birth of Christ.
b. Sunday has been celebrated for about 2000 years (since shortly after Jesus rose) as, “The Lord’s Day.” The day His followers worship.

So worship the King.

Your church is shutting its doors on Christmas Day? Find a church that’s open (the majority actually are – like 90%), and worship the King. As your spiritual mothers and fathers have done for 20 centuries.

Amen and amen.

 

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4 thoughts on “When Sunday and Christmas Collide

  1. The Key to having attendees on a Sunday Christmas Day is what has transpired the other 51 Sundays during the year at Church. Churches have become secularized and the people of the pew are not in awe of the real meaning of Christmas. Our society and families are scattered over the world today and Christmas is one of those times that they make plans to see each other. Seniors can not get out in bad weather or just get out, during the whole year, a lot anyway. People don’t want to be made to feel guilty of not attending. An old movie staring Cary Grant in ” The Bishops Wife” has the ending that tells us of where we are: Bishop Henry is giving his sermon that “Dudley”. has written for him. He has explained how we give and get gifts; when the says ” We have forgotten to hang a stocking up for excecpt one. The stocking for the Child born in a manger, It is His birtfdday we’re celebrating. Don’t let us ever forget that. Let us ask ourselves what He would wish for most. And then let each put in his share. Loving kindness, warm hearts, and a stetched-out hand of tolerance – – – the shining gifts to make a Peace – On – Earth.” During the year when we serve communion, we should emphasize the Power of the Resurrection. It is in new life that we are born anew. Have new lives been started by the gospel of Grace preached during the whole year? One has to listen to the person that has been really changed and turned their life around. A stretched-hand of tolerance preached all year long.

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  2. As the Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Westwood, a small town in Northern California, we have a Christmas Eve Service and of course a Sunday Morning Service when Christmas falls on a Sunday. We emphasize the wonder and Joy that God would actually send His Son to earth, to live a sinless life and offer salvation for everyone. Through the years, we have had many people this is there first experience hearing the Gospel. I’ve had people say after the service that they never heard that God actually loves them. As Pastor’s Christmas on Sunday is like a nice slow pitch across the plate that we can hit out of the ball park! 🙂 Merry Christmas!

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