Closed for Christmas?

by vernsanders on October 21, 2011

The calendar plays havoc with “tradition” again this year: Christmas Day falls on a Sunday. Which always seems to bring up the alt.Shakespearean question: To hold services on Christmas Day or not? That is the (loaded) question!

The last time that happened there was some light and heat in the press because a number of megachurches decided to not hold worship. But it is the discussion amongst the “worship professionals” that interests me (click here for interesting reading in the comments). Basically the decision, in most cases, comes down to “we’re exhausted from the seasonal events, and especially our Christmas eve services” versus “God shows up, even if only 2 or 3 are gathered.”

To use a sports analogy, you have to decide whether or not to go for the win or the tie at the end of regulation…and sometimes the determining factor is whether you have the conditioning to go into overtime.

I have a friend who used to serve in a Covenant church, and, at least at his church, they didn’t have many people at their Christmas eve services. But they ALWAYS had a Christmas Day service – even if it was on a Wednesday – and that service was packed. So I think that my oft-stated guidelines apply: local solutions for local situations. Just be sure to crank up your publicity machine so that you aren’t worried about losing an opportunity to reach someone who shows up and finds a locked door.

What do you think? What are you doing? And what about the second greatest football day of the year, because New Year’s Day also falls on a Sunday (the calendar is funny that way…)? Please leave a comment below and participate in the conversation.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Cathy Kelso October 21, 2011 at 9:07 am

We will be having services on Christmas morning. We may adjust the schedule some. Christmas Eve is when it’s hard for us to have services. Just never been part of our tradition. Lots of others close to visit. Small town church with lots of extended families.

vernsanders October 24, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Local solutions for local situations is always a good answer, in my opinion.

Janice October 24, 2011 at 10:21 am

We’ll have both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – still trying to decide on the time for the eve service, though. Our worship committee doesn’t want a late service (I think they all go to bed by 9 pm) but our history has shown that attendance is usually poor at an early evening time. Sunday morning will probably be pretty empty (but lovely).

vernsanders October 24, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Interesting that you find people would rather have a late service…the last two churches I have served have found just the opposite. Families don’t want to stay up that late, and older folks don’t want to drive at night.

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