It’s happening this year. It happened six years ago. It will happen again in five years; then again in six years; then we will get a break and it won’t happen again for eleven years.
The production of fruitcakes to replenish the ongoing re-gifting supply due to loss or actual consumption? No, although maybe. I don’t know the production schedule for fruitcakes.
No, I am referring to Christmas falling on a Sunday.
Christians (and churches) across the U.S. (if not around the world, at least in western cultures) are making priority choices and therefore value-statements due to this apparently inconvenient double-booking. Many churches are altering their worship plans for this coming Christmas – canceling altogether, or sending out DVD’s for some quality, living room worship, or moving services to Friday or Saturday.
Christmas – the very word means a worship service for Christ (Christ Mass). We may have come full circle. About 1600 years ago the church offered a worship service as a better way to end a week long pagan celebration of the birth of the undying sun (Saturnalia). What better way to help God’s people avoid the idolatries and hedonistic ways of the Roman culture than to focus them on the birth of the true undying Son? Today it seems the church is taking the opposite approach. How can we possibly ask you to stop worshiping your family when we have arranged nearly everything in church to promote that worship?
Will you be skipping church on Sunday the 25th this year? Attending on the 24th in order to at least check a box? Ask yourself why? Every choice between two options is a value statement. Every morning I choose to turn off my alarm at 5:30 and roll over and the gym and P90X wait yet another day. It is a choice. It is also a statement of what I value more.
Perhaps you have wonderful and delightful family traditions on Christmas. We do. And I love them all. What value statement am I making, what principles am I teaching my children when I say, our traditions are simply too important to change once every 6 to 11 years.
We can teach our children principles, we cannot decide how they will apply them. Is it true that some things come up in life that keep us from gathering with God’s people to adore God and worship him for the peace we have with him granted and secured for us by the birth, life, death, and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ? Possibly. But can you say with a straight face, “We aren’t going to church today because we are celebrating Christmas?”
“Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:14-15)
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” (Matthew 6:21,24)