Believe it or not, there are a number of people who are posting things like, “If your church doesn’t have services on Christmas Sunday, find another church.”
Now I will admit that it seems ironic that churches cancel services on a holiday that we claim celebrates the birth of Christ. I can’t imagine anyone doing that for Resurrection Sunday (aka Easter). In fact, there are churches who have services throughout Holy Week from Palm Sunday to Resurrection Sunday. And aren’t we the ones arguing that folks should Keep Christ in Christmas and that Jesus is the Reason for the Season?
But what I want to ask here is that really a good reason to leave your church and find another?
It’s hard to find a Biblical warrant for such a decision. Folks advocating this view tend to quote Hebrews 20:25:
not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Even so, Jesus Himself said:
And He said to them,
So the strict expectation of church attendance on the Lord’s Day would seem contrary to this admonition and to Paul’s warning that the letter of the law kills but the spirit gives life [2 Corinthians 3:6]. Given that the last time Christmas fell on a Sunday was in 2011, one exception in, at most, 260 weeks should be acceptable to anyone except a Modern-day Pharisee.
A more serious charge is that we’re cancelling services for a holiday that we are not commanded to observe in the Bible. We might call this the Super Bowl objection, because we have a similar argument when services are cancelled on Super Bowl Sunday. The general argument is that we shouldn’t cancel worship services for special events of a secular or extraBiblical nature. This is, of course, an argument from silence, a logical fallacy. Just because it’s not in the Bible somewhere doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate a Holiday dedicated to the Incarnation of Christ. Of course, if it is a holiday dedicated to the Savior’s Birth, one does wonder why the church doors aren’t open for those who look forward to worshipping God on the day upon which we commemorate His Incarnation?
Some suppose that the only logical answer to this question is that the church is too worldly and thus should be abandoned for a more spiritually minded body. I would strongly caution any Christian from using a Christmas service or its lack as a litmus test for worldliness… because in one of my previous posts I did not that there are some Christians who do not celebrate Christmas at all, having erroneously determined that it is a pagan holiday based on a genetic fallacy. Even if your church thinks of Christmas as a Christian holiday, a lack of services one Sunday out of every five to eleven years is still not necessarily an indicator of worldliness. Point in fact, the next time we’re going to hear arguments about this “huge” issue that some are making out to be a litmus test for worldliness is 2022, 2033, 2039, 2044 and 2050.
You’re going to have to consider more factors than the fact that your church decided to not to have services a couple times a decade in order to determine whether it is on fact worldly and worthy of leaving.
What this issue boils down to is a few Modern-day Pharisees trying to impose their preferences upon the church. Even if you’d prefer to worship on Christmas, elevating that preference to a litmus test for whether you will continue to worship at a particular house of worship is just, well, kind of immature. Since you have no Biblical warrant for leaving and, due to inadequate sampling alone, the lack of a service on Christmas isn’t really a good litmus test for worldliness, it really just seems like a few people saying basically saying My way or the highway.
Having said that, I completely understand wanting to be in church on Christmas. My hope is that most if not all churches will open their doors for those who wish to attend on Christmas. Evangelstically speakinf, we should be aware that if we close our doors on Sunday, we do cut off half of the opportunities we have to present the Gospel to folks who typically only accept an invitation to attend church on Christmas and Easter. Of course, many churches who do not have services on Christmas itself, have special Christmas services on Christmas Eve or earlier in the week, so the opportunity to give a meaningful presentation of what the Incarnation means for humanity is not lost.
I can’t help feeling that if we’re arguing over this “huge” issue (and it MUST be huge if we’re encouraging people to leave churches over it) that we’ve lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas anyway. A little longsuffering is wanted in this debate.
Or did we forget that the angels sang, Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward men?