Over the past few weeks at my church we’ve been discussing what to do with Christmas falling on a Sunday this year. I would imagine many other churches are having to make a similar decision right now. Back in 2005, churches had the same decision to make with Christmas Day also falling on a Sunday.
Everyone I have talked to over those weeks has had an opinion with most people saying that we should cancel church that morning so people can be with their families and not feel an obligation to come to church.
My church, like most churches, puts a lot of time and effort into doing church well on Christmas Eve too, so it’s not like we’d be giving less attention to the birth of Christ.
In the past I’ve been firmly in the “no church on Christmas” camp. A lot of this is because I would likely have to work on Christmas if we decided to still gather as a church, but partially because most people will have already come the day before (Christmas Eve).
I read a compelling argument on this subject that has an opposing viewpoint recently that changed my mind though…
“One leading pastor in the area where we live (referring to Christmas Day in 2005) reasoned that his church would have several Christmas Eve services to attend, but that people should be home with their families on Christmas Day. In so doing, this pastor placed the birth family over the born-again family. As a result, many individuals removed from their nuclear families had nowhere to go and no one to talk to on Christmas Day.” (Exploring Ecclesiology, pg. 41)
I do think American culture and our strong emphasis on nuclear families often becomes a detriment to true community taking place in churches, so I find this quote to be spot on. But I’m sure others have a differing opinion.