Taking Church Out of Christmas
If you do not believe in the importance of the New Testament local church then you need not waste your time reading this article. However, for those of us who believe that God ordained local bodies of believers called the church to carry out his mission in this world there is something I want to say to you. This is not a rant, nor is it an attack against any of my brethren. However it is something that needs to be said. So, here goes.
Pastor, please reconsider taking church out of Christmas this year. How is that different from taking Christ out of Christmas. Christ gave his life for the church. Pastors across America are canceling Sunday morning activities at church because it's Christmas. What kind of signal are we sending when we do this? Let me suggest a few that I think we are sending?
1. It is sending a signal that Christmas is more about family than it is about Christ. I love Christmas. Christmas was always special in our family. But there was never a time where family defined Christmas. Christmas was always defined by Christ. All the sentimental Christmas songs that talk about family are sweet, but do not believe the notion that Christmas is more about family than Christ.
2. It is sending a signal to the world that church is not that important. When people drive by your church on Christmas night and see the parking lot full of cars it is a testimony to putting Christ first in your church. It also reminds them that the people who attend your church are different. Not only should we have our normal schedule on Christmas we should advertise the fact that we do. There are others who attend churches that will cancel services and perhaps this would be an opportunity for them to come to your church.
3. It is sending a signal that church is an inconvenience. To cancel Sunday night church on Christmas Day is to say that church is getting in the way of something more important. Nothing is more important. Church is not an inconvenience. Church is a vital part of life and should never be treated any less than such. What's next? Will you canceled church on Super Bowl Sunday night? How about Easter? That's what churches across America have done. How sad that we would consider our church services as being inconvenient to our celebration.
4. It is sending a signal that you are changing. Men like Dr. Roberson, Dr. Malone, Dr. yiles Dr. Hutson and I could go on and on took a strong position when it comes to maintaining consistency when it comes to church services. Those who have made services less important are those who are not like us in many other ways. Why do we want to be like them? Why are we copying what they do? Really there is no legitimate reason other than either you don't want to have church or you are succumbing to what people are saying.
5. It is sending a signal that people don't want to go to church. I don't buy this. There are people look forward to every service even if it's on Christmas Sunday. Look if they don't want to come on Christmas that's their choice. However give them the choice. Have the service and show them that it's important. Whether they show up is up to them but don't enable them. Have your regular services and let them make their choice.
6. It is sending a signal that church is arbitrary. When the pastor says we are not having certain services he is saying it's not important. Don't you think that's going to make it easier for people to say it's not important to go to church when they are on vacation? Never minimize the importance of church. Satan wants nothing more than to convince people that church is not always important. Cancelling services just plays into his hands.
Pastor it's not too late to reconsider
You don't have to cancel or change your service times. I know Dr. Hyles was old-fashioned. I also know that church was more important to him than Christmas because church was a regular part of Christian life for him. Christmas was a celebration of a day we should celebrate all the time. He never canceled a single thing on Christmas Sunday. The buses ran, Sunday school classes met, the preaching took place at their regularly scheduled times and the doors were open on Sunday night for church.
Pastor, you are not wicked because you canceled your Sunday night service, but I think you are sending some bad signals. Get up in front of your people and admit you were wrong. They may respect you more. It may even give you a chance to make it a teaching moment for your people.