This is a late post about a topic that received much attention in the news this year: Christmas was on a Sunday. Granted, we won't have to deal with this "problem" again until 2011, but I just read an interesting post on the subject on Bill Haye's blog.

Bill reports that a friend sarcastically asked "How dare God expect us to go to church on Christmas instead of be with family?" While I realize that Bill's friend was making a point with sarcasm, I also know that a number of people feel that way. However, in looking at the Bible, it says "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!" (I John 3:1, NIV). As Christians, since we are the children of God, then spending part of our Christmas Day at church is spending time with our family. We are spending time with our spiritual family which was formed by adoption by God through Christ, and this family may or may not include our biological family.

Rob Williams, Bill's nephew, presents a different point of view for the "seeker sensitive" churches:

However, for Willow Creek and other mega-churches, it could be a different reason for them (I'm guessing here). I don't think they necessarily bent to cultural demands. I don't know about Willow Creek, but I know Saddleback has decided that it's Sunday services are to be "seeker friendly". The Body gathers in homes throughout the week in small groups to grow. That's their model. I could see closing on Christmas Sunday as consistent with their strategy.

My problem with Rob's argument is what are known as ECO church attenders: they only attend on Easter and Christmas (the abbreviation stands for Easter & Christmas Only), and the churches that chose to close on Christmas missed the boat in reaching people when they were willing to come in.

Which brings me to the point that it is a great time of year to share the gospel: it's Christmas. The name of the holiday includes the name who we are trying to get people to think about: Christ, who declared that "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father but through me." (John 14:6). After all, isn't that what we are trying to do? Share the gospel with our friends and family, get them to join our spiritual family, and get them to heaven to be with God and us there. If not, I would highly recommend you read my post on Christianity as a spectator sport and the linked Bible verses. I would also recommend that you review the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.

As for First Christian Church of Tallahassee, where my wife and I are members, it was open on Christmas, but Sunday School was cancelled. I know they also had the Christmas Eve Candlelight service. However, my wife and I were at my parent's house, so we attended the Christmas services there. The Christmas Eve service presented the opportunity to have my brother and my parents in church with my wife and I. It was wonderful!

Tags: , ,