Christmas is just 2 days away. For years, pastors and faithful church attenders have laughed at those that attend church on the Sunday before Christmas and on Easter. Church signs proudly displayed that they are open between these two holidays. But when Christmas falls on a Sunday, as it does this year, being open on Christmas isn’t such a sure thing as many churches have cancelled their services.
This will be the third time since I have been a pastor that Christmas has fallen on Sunday. I remember the first time that there were few people in church, then the second time the church was packed. I have no idea what Sunday will bring, but I have never considered not having church on this day.
I have read several debates about this issue: we do not have church on Christmas when it falls on another day of the week; Sunday is not the biblical Sabbath anyway; Christmas is not a day of rest anyway; and several other ways that church leaders have excused their decision.
My concern is that the heart of the decision to not have services since Christmas falls on Sunday is made out of convenience, not out of conviction.
I will be the first to admit that Christmas morning will be busy. We will open presents, we will cook and have breakfast that will not include cereal or something in the microwave (which only happens on Christmas), we will start getting stuff ready for lunch, and we will get dressed and be in church before 11:00 (one of us will be there before the others). But what kind of lesson would I teach my kids to say, “We are celebrating the birth of Jesus today, but we will not go to church today like we do every other Sunday because Christmas is just too busy”?
You see, this issue is greater than Christmas being on Sunday because we have settled for convenience over conviction for a long time. I see families each week that decide not to gather for Bible study and worship because there is too much going on. Sunday is the only day they have to sleep in. The kids are tired. It was a rough week, blah, blah, blah. These parents would state that they are followers of Christ, but they choose regularly to skip the command to worship corporately because it is more convenient.
Yes, I believe you should be in church on Christmas this year, but I also believe you should be in church every Sunday. Even if I was not a pastor, I would hold this conviction, which was modeled by my parents and I consider it my responsibility to model the same to my children. When faced with conviction or convenience, maybe they will think of the busy Christmas morning and the priority of corporate worship.
I hope to see you Sunday morning!