Christmas: Church or Home?


Churches Shutting On Christmas Day
And that brings me to one final thought about churches shutting their doors on Christmas Day. This is mostly the doing of the mega churches who consider it a family day even though Christmas is on Sunday. I cannot add much to what Ben Worthington said about this so I’ll just quote him,

Our culture does not need any encouragement to be more self-centered and narcissistic or to stay at home on Sunday. It is already that way. Christmas above all else should be a day when we come together as the body of Christ to worship and adore the Lord Jesus.

Personally, I disagree. Not with Christmas being mainly about the adoration of Christ, or with the idea that there is anything “wrong” with having a Sunday service when Christmas falls on Sunday.

What I disagree with is a religious view that is traditionally fossilized without any recognition of why something changes. There is a change that is fickle inconsistancy, and there is change that is organic and necessary… one that is in tune with the spirit of a thing.

If you are Catholic, or from that set of tenets, attending a service carries more than the Protestant would give it. ( That is all encased in the “transubstantiation” debate, which I don’t intend to address here) It is no question for a Catholic to attend services as much as possible, and Christmas and high holidays ( holy days) especially.

But does that translate to many Evangelical circumstances? I say “no”. For many, including those mega-churches cited, almost all of ones social life is filled with Church events. It gets downright difficult to carve out time for family. In this case, if you are spending lion shares of time involved in the fabric of Church life, does it offend God if you have a Sunday at home ? Should we view this as any less a time of adoration of Christ Jesus? And if so, have we deteriorated in our ideal of a life consumed with a continual adoration of Christ? Have we made ourselves into Christmas and Easter Christians… or followed along further down that pathway?

I rebuke those of my own, wellmeaning but mistaken, faith… those who want to castigate other Christians for something perfectly in tune with how they serve Christ. What does it matter, so long as they sincerely serve Him? What does it matter if some decide that they will observe their worship in a way that we are not comfortable with?

I say let us reserve our criticisms for something that is truly contrary to our faith…not that which might only seem so.

Do I love you less Brothers, and Sisters, because you think it is important to go to Church on a Sunday…or because you want to make sure that Christmas is about worship of the Lord Jesus? No, I don’t love you less, but I would ask that you rethink this view that causes you to excuse less love for some of your brethren that worship in a different manner than you are comfortable with.

7 thoughts on “Christmas: Church or Home?”

  1. Well, I think Christmas is what you make of it. However, in these discussions, we are not talking about individuals who wish not to partake in the true Christ-mass, these are Christian churches that feel Christmas is more about me than about He (Jesus). What does canceling normal Sunday services, let alone closing church the day of Christmas, one of our holiest of days, say to the non-Christian community (or even to God) about our Christian ways? Is the Christian faith a convenience or a conviction? What is the focus of Christmas? The gift of a Savior or the gifts under the tree?

  2. It’s not that I love any one less. What I found fascinating was that the churches thought that going to church together would violate “family time”. That’s because these large churches split apart the family the minute they walk in the door. So it’s not so much that they cancelled it’s the reason that they cancelled that I found so stunning. If a believer chooses to stay home to stay home on Christmas that’s fine. I don’t fault them. It’s when the church decides that attending is not necessary for the reason they provided.

  3. I agree with Jen and Spunky. The issue is about how the church conducts corporate worship or, in this case, how it decides when corporate worship is unnecessary. If a family decides they don’t want to attend worship on Christmas day, that’s their business. But it baffles me that church leadership would consider the very act of the saints gathering in a corporate call to worship to be secondary to family time, simply because a humanly invoked celebration (Dec. 25th) happens to occur on a divinely invoked one (the sabbath day).

    I realize that many families find their social life filled up with church events, activities, and responsibilities. As important as those are to helping keep a family unit together, they cannot substitute for the believer’s responsibility to worship God with the body of other believers.

    I recall a discussion, at a church I once attended, that revolved around whether or not we should return to having a Sunday night service. One of the lay leaders was against the idea because, as he put it, his week was so filled up with activities that Sunday night was the only time that he, his wife, and his children could have family time. While it was a noble reason, I thought it was also off base. I wondered if it had ever occurred to him that he might drop one of his many other responsibilities (that he thought he had) in order to carve out a couple of hours on Sunday night?

    In the end, I think we do what we want to do.

  4. If we cancel church on Christmas, we go two weeks without sabbath. What does that do to commandment #4. Not that we’re all that great about observing it the way God intended anyway, but what’s the message the church gives its flock when it says, “Let’s skip a week?”

    I do see your point, Ilona. I’m just not totally in agreement.

    I will say that whatever you did to change your reading pane totally did the trick. I love it! I don’t have to save you for last anymore.

  5. I wonder what they really mean when they say Mega Churches? I can’t imagine a Catholic church closing their doors on a Sunday or especially Christmas day. In Catholisism that is the big one. Close second it the death of Christ.

    I think the problem is with the masses trying to take the religion out of religion. Political correctness overrulling the faith of the Church. They keep trying to take religion out of Christmas, but its just not possible. It’s a religious holiday. It’s the BIG one. Period.

  6. I appreciate the responses… and a conversation came up with my daughter that caused me to review the topic with the thinking that this is probably a more important issue than I first thought.

    First up, I have to give some real weight to the concept of Sabbath, Carol. Thanks for alerting me to the code problem- it did take me lots of time to get it corrected. I am not sure how I corrected it, though…like my experience with Algebra.

    I’m going to give some time to take in your thoughts Rusty. You are very, very right about the responsibility to worship God- this really trumps everything. I was raised Reformed/Presbyterian and this would never have been an issue in those Churches. But their social structure was quite loose and Sunday was the *only* time we went to Church. Except for Thursday choir practice. And the Christmas Eve candlelight service. But I go to a Vineyard Church now- and they have canceled Sunday service and have two Saturday ( Christmas Eve ) services. The AoG Church I formerly went to didn’t have a Christmas Day service, but I don’t know about Sunday.

    Catholicism is like the mother of Mega-church in a way. Eva, you have brought up a different -but I think related- topic…along the lines of the discuassion I had with my daughter. I’m going to post more and develop the discussion.

    The input is very appreciated, not only from the blog view, but the personal one.

  7. Spunky, since I was working off your post, I wanted to look at a couple things you say here. I do believe you are sincere in your love for your fellow Christians, but I think you are overlooking something here- perhaps your experience is that you haven’t stayed home from services where the rest of your church feels it is vital to attend. Many of the churches I have attended have a s-sometimes spoken and sometimes not- message that when the church doors are open you are expected to be there. So there is less love- not intentionally perhaps- for those who are too ‘uncommitted and weak’ to fulfill that expectation.

    Perhaps if I knew more of your context I could gage your view better.

    I find your comment,”That’s because these large churches split apart the family the minute they walk in the door” to be intriguing. This is something I have rolled around in my mind-but never thought of it in that strong of terms. Do you have posts on this thought that you could point me towards?

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