Thursday, December 15, 2005

Churches CLOSED on Christmas?

Yeah, I'm late to this story, but it's worth commenting on.

First, I have to lay out my hypocrisy credentials: I've skipped Sunday church on many an occasion with less than credible excuses. Sometimes it's "studying and homework," other times it's "family time," and sometimes it's just plain "I'm too tired."

But I think this is different. We're not talking about one believer making pitiful excuses for his own reticence. We're talking about the leadership of large, highly influential churches essentially telling their body of believers that there are some things more important than Christian devotion.

Is this really what the church should be about?

I'll be the first person to admit that Christmas is a family day, but it also happens to be the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus. If there's any day one should go to church, this would be it! (No offense intended, but even most Catholics get this)

The leadership of these churches ought to reconsider this. They keep talking about giving their volunteers time off, but isn't sacrifice about serving God even when it's difficult?

Care for an update? Here's the status, as of this evening, on the Christmas services of the churches mentioned in the USA Today story:

Willow Creek - Cancelled.
Southland Christian Church - Cancelled.
Fellowship Church - Cancelled.
North Point Community Church - Cancelled.


(Incidentally, the pastor of Southland offers an explanation as to why they are closed on Sunday. You can listen to it in mp3 format if you wish. I think they're all bad reasons. He says, first, that unbelievers are less likely to go to church on Sunday, and even less if it's Christmas Sunday. Hey guy, church is not for the unbeliever. What does corporate worship mean to someone who knows not what he worships? His second reason is that it's not Biblically wrong, since the first day of the week starts Saturday night Biblically, and that's what they're doing. That's just grasping hairs, my friend. Is it explicitly worng to do this? No. Is it a bad example? Oh yeah.)

Lord, change the hearts of these pastors.

4 comments:

Carin said...

My church is open on Christmas. Two masses on the 24th, and two on the 25.

Nicole said...

Hal, I totally agree. Dang. I have had many discussions with other seminary students (As you can imagine) about this. What are these churches saying to the world? They have totally sold out to the commercialism of Christmas. Arg!

Christmas isn't about family (it has become about family and I'm not saying that spending time with family is bad). Christmas is about Christ and thus we should be celebrating in church.

Besides church should be a family event...so spend some of your family time on Christmas IN CHURCH!

Yeah, this wasn't meant to be yelling at you. The topics really ticks me off.

Ryan Herr said...

"I'll be the first person to admit that Christmas is a family day, but it also happens to be the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus. If there's any day one should go to church, this would be it! (No offense intended, but even most Catholics get this)"

:)

You know, Catholics get to go to Church every day if they want! ;)

I've read comments recently on some Catholic blogs where folks are claiming that a decent number of Protestants show up for their midnight Christmas mass. If that's true, I find it interesting.

Anyways, thanks for the shout-out. peace.

Hal said...

Ryan,

My point was simply that there is a multitude of Catholics (or "Catholics" if you will) who will attend church but twice a year: Easter and Christmas. I believe Beth refers to them as "Chreasters".

And, again I must say that I intend no offense, that is interesting if lots of Protestants show up for Christmas Eve mass. I myself find it a bizarre experience. I can't stop myself from thinking theologically everytime I hear a reference to Mary (be it in song or homily) and when it comes time for the Eucharist, well . . . we've discussed that before.

Hmm . . . come to think of it, I never did finish that up, did I?