As the Advent season has progressed, I have heard more and more chatter about Worship on the Lord’s Day and Christmas. Should a church hold corporate worship on Christmas Sunday morning or not? While I believe in local church autonomy and each church’s prerogative, I think sharing why our church is worshiping on Christmas Day might be helpful. Before I share our reasoning, I want to say I have many pastor friends and know many churches that do not take my position. I love them. I just disagree with them, and that’s ok!
- Christmas is NOT about family. I have heard that churches are not gathering for corporate worship because they want to make time for family. Christmas is about the birth of the Savior, the God-man being born. Christmas is about the worship of the Christ child. The very word Christmas indicates the church’s celebration of the Christ. Friends, Christmas is not about family or tradition; Christmas is about heaven coming down. The response to this should be worship among the people of God.
- Christmas IS about worship. The advent of Christ brought forth worship from Shepherds, wise men, and old temple attendants. As the people of God, partakers of the New Covenant established and sealed by the shed blood of the child whose birth we are celebrating, Christmas is about the people of God worshiping the fulfillment of his promise to redeem and restore.
- Sunday is the Lord’s Day. Whether Sunday is Christmas or July 4th, as Christ followers, we worship on Sunday as a reminder of his victory over the grave, ensuring us new life for eternity. If Christmas is about worship and Sunday is the day our faith has set aside as a corporate time of worship and celebration, then it follows; allowing anything to distract from the worship of the Lord on the day set aside to corporately worship is dangerously close to idolatry.
Consumerism has desensitized us. Whether it’s 24/7 Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel that romanticize the idealistic Christmas season or even the classics like Rudolph and Frosty, the marketplace has set the season’s expectations. Because the market is saturated with consumeristic drivel, it is easy to become desensitized to the realities of the season. Prioritizing worship this Sunday will help us recalibrate from the static noise of secularism.
I understand this can sound borderline legalistic and, as has been mentioned by other faith leaders, pharisaical. Before that judgment is passed, I want to be clear about what I am saying. When people of the covenant prioritize worship on the Lord’s Day, which is Sunday, their families benefit. Tradition is special, and I am in no way saying tradition is wrong, but a tradition that detracts from worship can be put on hold for an hour.
Heaven came down when the Christ-child was born. Christ then lived a perfect life we could never live. He died the death we should have died to pay the penalty for our sins. He was then placed in a grave that was not his own, where he stayed for three days. Then on the morning of that third day, he rose triumphantly from that grave, thus putting to death death itself! As believers in Jesus Christ, we celebrate our Savior’s victory and the promise of eternal life he has secured for his elect on Sundays. Friends, I tell you, there is no better day to celebrate the birth of the Lord than on the Lord’s Day.
This is why our church will worship corporately on Christmas morning.