Church on Christmas?!
I was talking with someone last week who knows I am a pastor and they asked me what our service schedule was for Christmas. I explained we will have two worship services at 3pm and 5pm on Christmas Eve, like usual, and then one service at 11am on Christmas Day. Their response took me by surprise. “You’re having church on Christmas?!” Apparently, having a special service to worship Christ on Christmas is a shocking idea.
To be fair, the person’s surprise was coming from the conviction that Christmas should ideally be a day off, and they clearly have a heart for anyone required to work on Christmas. I certainly appreciate that concern and share it. We all feel for the poor guy staffing the gas station on Christmas Day and wish that perhaps the owner had chosen to close for the holiday. (We wish this until we’re on our way to Christmas dinner and realize we’re nearly out of gas!)
However, I found this little chat to be quite revealing. Christians know the significance of Christmas. We understand it is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And thanks to A Charlie Brown Christmas, millions of Americans outside the church also have a basic idea of what Christmas is all about. (Thank you, Linus.)
But most believers have also adopted the cultural conviction that Christmas is about having time off from work to enjoy good food, good times and good gifts with family and friends. We know in our heads that our family gatherings aren’t the essence of Christmas, but they easily become the main event, eclipsing the Savior whom we really do love.
So yes, I am “working” on Christmas this year. But I consider myself fortunate, because I get to help lead the party for Jesus as we remember his coming into this world to save us! If you’re in town this weekend, I hope you will come join the celebration.