Canceling Church

Christmas lands on Sunday this year (in case you missed the memo).                              And my husband is a pastor.                                                                                                       And he scheduled Christmas morning worship.                                                          How do you feel about that?

You may think, “It’s Sunday!  Slam dunk!  That’s as it should be!  I personally can have a worshipful spirit while still in my pj’s at home on Christmas morning, but it’s good to know there will be church as usual for, you know… other people.”

Or you may think, “Absolutely!  We will have have opened gifts, enjoyed brunch, and we’re planning to get to church early just to make sure we can get a good seat.  Anyone not in church must not love Jesus.”

In our family, this decision has not been real popular.  After the marathon of approximately 493 Christmas Eve services, we look forward to family time on Christmas day.  It’s a chance to be present to each other and let the miracle of Christmas sink in without needing to be anywhere.  Maggie assigns each of us a time slot during the day when we’re supposed to come up with a creative family activity.  John has had the audacity to say that his creative family activity is church at 11:00 on Christmas morning.  Ugh.

John asked me and the girls to do the children’s sermon, but we can’t imagine there will be any kids there, and if there are, they’re gonna want to talk about the toys they got, not Jesus so we’ve nixed that.

Yes, we’re being whiny babies, but we have threatened to:

  • Take a permanent marker and cross off the service on the banner outside the church.
  • Put a sign on the church door saying:  Please enjoy worship with our Lutheran friends down down the road.  See you next week!
  • Have a mass scavenger hunt through the church for the baby Jesus and call it a day.
  • Come in our pj’s

This may sound heretical, but have you ever felt going to church was counter-productive to your relationship with Jesus?  

Do you plan on going to church on Christmas morning?   If so, what do you look forward to in worship that morning?                                                                                    What’s the most meaningful thing you’ll do to celebrate Christmas?

6 Comments

  1. We have been debating this, too, Laura!! Cris has decided we are going to church on Christmas morning despite the protests of several of the kids that it is not “tradition”! Do we need to go just to cross it off our spiritual do-good check list? I hope that is not why we are going because then our so-called “worship” would actually be more of a hindrance I think. I had to promise the kids that I would be SUPER organized so it won’t affect our traditions! Actually, I think it fits in more with what we are trying to make the focus of our Christmas mornings. About 4 years ago, we all started bringing money to our Jesus stocking on Christmas Eve. Then, in the morning, we choose gifts from the Christmas catalogues from different ministries (like Gospel for Asia, World Vision, Compassion, Samaritan’s Purse). That is probably our favorite tradition now, although for me a close 2nd is opening our prophecy box. Each day, we open a numbered box with a prophecy from the OT and it’s fulfillment in the NT. On Christmas day, we have coal in the box and read an article by RC Sproul, Jr. about how black our sin is and how Christ coming to this earth means we won’t be spending eternity in hell separated from Him. (RC puts it a lot better!) This has finally given me a real reason for all the gift giving–what a great thing to celebrate with gifts and thanksgiving both to Him and to each other!

    • Love, love, LOVE your ideas!!! Thanks for sharing these great thoughts!!!

    • I took a quick poll here at the office – actually, just two people. One is a pastor’s wife herself, the other a member at First Pres. Glen Ellyn. Both let out a large gasp when I asked how they felt about church on Christmas….meaning, they would not think of it being any other way. The pastor’s wife then said, “whatever draws people closer to Jesus”.

      I can remember attending church maybe just once or twice on Christmas, probably on a day when it fell on a Sunday. I can distinctly remember experiencing God. Sure, it was mostly just singing carols followed by a short message, but even with a half filled church, there was meaning for me.

      On the other hand, do we get too caught up in the actual date of celebrating Christmas? I mean, are we not celebrating the gift of Jesus a few hours earlier on Christmas Eve? And what about December 25? Jesus wasn’t born on that date anyway.

      I do like Jane’s traditions. they focus more on the gift we receive from our heavenly father than on what we receive from each other.

      By the way, I also asked these two believers if they ever thought going to church sommetimes got in the way of following Jesus….they couldn’t get “Yes” out fast enough!

  2. Your thoughts are my thoughts exactly. Thank you for openly sharing them with us, so we can all stop feeling quilty about having them. Merry Christmas to you and your Family.
    Blessings from Canada!

  3. What I love most about going to church on Christmas Day with my family is the opportunity to be fully present to the miracle of Jesus with no distractions. Just taking it all in and letting it fill me up – LOVE IT. As a side note, I’ve always been really envious of my 4 year old when she announces that it’s pajama day at school – everyone looks so cozy and comfy. I second your threat and vote for a pajama-only Christmas Day service! How fun would that be???

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