Christmas vs. Worship

November 26, 2006

Last year about this time I wrote a couple of articles about Christmas being on the Lord’s Day and my view on Christians rescheduling or canceling services. For the record-I’m completely against moving around worship times or canceling worship for any holiday.

I was shocked at the responses I got from friends and family. One brother in Christ told me that this was no way “to make a name for myself” (still not sure what he meant by that) and that I was going to make a lot of enemies with articles like those. He ended his note by telling me that he would never read my articles again!

WOW! I didn’t know it would be offensive to state the obvious-that the Lord’s Day takes precedence over Christmas. While I’m on my soap-box let me also make it public that I believe worshipping the Lord comes before work, shopping, eating out, sleeping in, hunting, fishing, soccer games, basketball games, and, yes, even the Super Bowl!

I was asked just the other day what our congregation was going to do about Christmas Eve. (Oh, no it’s happening again.) I replied, “Nothing.” It’s just another holiday and doesn’t even compare to the day that the Lord has set aside for me to be able to come together with other Christians to worship Him. When did we start thinking that the Lord’s Day was for our benefit? It’s not. It’s the day that we come together to break bread, give, sing, pray, uplift each other, but most of all to worship our Father and Savior.

Many of the people who disagreed with my stance on Christmas vs Worship stated that Christmas was a time to be with family. It’s not that I don’t want to be with my family but Jesus told us where our family members rank in Matthew 10:37. How can I teach my children that nothing comes before Christ and then turn around and make adjustments to the worship service so that I can do something, anything, else? What is that going to teach them- That God is priority in my life until the Lord’s Day falls on December 24 or 25? I can’t do it with good conscience. I can’t tell them that God adapts to my life. He doesn’t.

Other friends and family that disagreed with me said that we aren’t required to worship twice on Sunday and canceling a Sunday night service really isn’t a big deal. I understand that we aren’t “required” to meet at 6 pm on Sunday nights but I also know that in the first century church Christians were craving the Gospel. In Acts 20, for example, Paul preached until midnight and we have proof that there were people there listening (not everybody was asleep 🙂

Should we be so quick to cancel service for any reason when the early Christians desired to hear the Word so deeply that they would listen until midnight? I guarantee that we have preachers who would love to preach until midnight. Would there be any listeners? Where is our desire to hear the Gospel? And do we only want to hear it when it suits us?

There’s nothing wrong with celebrating Christ’s birth as long as we are constantly aware of His death and His resurrection. And we should never limit ourselves to only thinking about Jesus during December. We can use Christmas as a time to evangelize. What would it tell the world if we worshipped on Christmas Eve just like we do every other Sunday night. We could even invite them to worship with us!

I guess we can go to extremes on this issue. I know of preachers who won’t preach on Jesus until February and I know of congregations who will sing Joy to the World and Away in a Manger every Sunday in December. There has to be a happy medium.

I hope I don’t come off sounding like an ultra-conservative legalist because I’m not. This is just something that I feel strongly about. Who knows Jesus might come back before December 24th anyway.

Where will you be on December 24th?

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5 Comments Add your own

  •    Vangie  |  November 28th, 2006 at 10:25 pm     Reply

    I think you are right on target. Keep up your good work

  •    Ancient Wanderer  |  November 29th, 2006 at 9:46 pm     Reply

    I like what you had to say… I’ve always just thought that if there was a death/ burial/ resurrection- there had to have been a birth.

    Cancelling services or “moving them around”- nah, that’s not the way to go.

    Ever wonder why folks make such a big deal about Christmas taking precedence over the Lord’s Day but don’t seem to mind worshipping MOM on Mother’s Day (which always falls on a Sunday)? As a DAD I can tell you we don’t get equal time or if we do it’s a “Fathers Don’t Do Enough” sermon (and I preach!) 😉

    Stay with your convictions… I live in an area where EVERY Sunday is Familiy Time. Once you open the door to “family time” you’re doomed.


  •    shannon  |  December 9th, 2006 at 4:49 pm     Reply

    I would listen to Paul until midnight – anyone else around here? Nope!

  •    Lisa  |  December 16th, 2006 at 8:52 pm     Reply

    I’m with you on that all the way. I am disappointed that our elders have decided to cancel evening services on the 24th (as they did last year on the 25th). I haven’t had the guts (yet) to tell them how I feel. I had the unfortunate burden last year of church coming between my husband & me, because he did not want to go to church, instead stay at home for family time. That’s the way he was raised: that worshiping the Lord is important…but not as important as other things. I, on the other hand, grew up in a preacher’s family, so you KNOW where we were each Sunday & Wednesday night!! 🙂 Last year, I asked the children (then 4, 2 & 1) if they wanted to go to church with me on Christmas Day, & they did, so the 4 of us went without my husband. Looking back, it wasn’t the best idea to let them decide. I guess I was saved from any negative consequences, though. We haven’t discussed this year’s Christmas Eve yet, but I can tell you I’m not looking forward to it.

    Thanks for your comment on my blog. I’m going to enjoy having yours to read. I know I’ve seen your comments on other blogs I read, so we’ll “run into each other” from time to time. Have a great weekend!

  •    Bob Bliss  |  December 25th, 2006 at 10:39 pm     Reply

    Go girl! Any chance you could write my sermons for me?

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