Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas on Sunday - This is just crazy

In 2005, the last time Christmas Day fell on a Sunday, a few churches made news by cancelling their Sunday services. How is it looking six years later? Well, let's see.

In 2005 the New York Times story was entitled When Christmas Falls on Sunday, Megachurches Take the Day Off. This year the story by some (this is Ed Stetzer's) is Pastors Plan to Host Christmas Services Despite Busyness of Christmas Day.

See the difference?

I easily achieved irascible curmudgeon status some years ago, so my response is: This is just crazy!

Christian churches worship on Sunday (save for the sabbatarian Adventists, Baptists, and other small groups) and, since Christmas periodically falls on our day of worship, it makes for a special Christmas worship celebration.


Yep...for most of us, that is. But not for some megachurches and hyper-family-friendly churches for whom Christmas is so special that they cancel Lord's Day worship when December 25th comes on Sunday. I would surmise that any church holding any events on any Sunday is family-unfriendly in our society, think soccer games and letting the little sleepyheads sleep in, but I digress.

Has Christmas become so secularized, so piled with warm family traditions, that the clamor in the 21st century is not that Christians not be distracted by the peripheral Christmas matters but that Christians not be inconvenienced by having to gather for corporate worship on Sunday, December 25th?

Alas, seems the trend. How dare churches be so family-unfriendly? Where will we be in 2016 or 2022, the next two years Christmas lands on a Sunday.

Such a brave new Christian world we live in.

Plodder’s assessments:
This is a megachurch thing and no one tells a megachurch what to do, sometimes not even Jesus.

This is a contrarian thing worn like a badge of honor: 'We don’t wear ties, sing hymns, or do what others do, like worship on Sunday. Deal with it.'

The thinking is, 'Sunday/Schmunday, it’s just a day like any other day. None of this stuff about the day of the resurrection.' We can just do it on the Day of Absence (Saturday).

The thinking is, “We’re relevant, family friendly, sensible and spiritual…and you’re not.”

My thinking is: This is just crazy.

But let's be forward thinking and move ahead to Easter, the Day of the Resurrection. Easter will fall on a Sunday this year. Families will gather. Traditions will be observed. Plodder is looking for the really family-friendly church to cancel worship on Easter Sunday.

In a manner of speaking he will probably not be disappointed.


Anonymous said...

I too have had conversations with my congregation concerning Christmas Sunday. I shared this quote yesterday

The spirit of Christmas needs to be superseded by the Spirit of Christ. The spirit of Christmas is annual; the Spirit of Christ is eternal. The spirit of Christmas is sentimental; the Spirit of Christ is supernatural. The spirit of Christmas is a human product; the Spirit of Christ is a divine person. That makes all the difference in the world.
Stuart Briscoe

I think this cuts to the heart of our problem. We do not like it when the things of God cut into "OUR FAMILY" time. I have heard countless times how "OUR FAMILY" trumps anything that the church might be invovled in.

Jonathan said...

"This is a contrarian thing worn like a badge of honor: 'We don’t wear ties, sing hymns, or do what others do, like worship on Sunday. Deal with it.'"

Being "contrarian" is one of those unstated core principles of the Baptist heritage. "Some church may do/say X, but we will do/say Y" or "Its not common for churches in our city to do x...but we will do x". We like to use words like "risky" to describe what we do and "scandalous" to describe what others do.

Of course, we're also the same people who gin up outrage over the use of "Xmas" instead of "Christmas".

Baptists, of all people, are in need of 1 Corinthians 10:31 thinking. Can I worship with my church family to the glory of God? Absolutely. Can I spend time with my immediate family to the glory of God? Sure. Can I attempt to utilize peer pressure or ridicule to those who make a different choice on a specific date to the glory of God? Doubt it.

FWIW, my family and I will be in God's house with God's people on Christmas morning...because we find genuine joy in doing so.

Anonymous said...

You have grown even wiser in retirement. Great article and good sound and solid advice.

Merry Christmas!

Ron Hale