I was just making a post on my church blog about this and I felt like I needed to bring the topic to the Dawg Howse. Sunday night I had announced in church that I was going to send a letter out to everyone in the church with a survey of when they would like to have worship services for Christmas since Christmas happens to be on Sunday this year. I explained that from the past years of ministry, I know that very few will come on Christmas Sunday, and I was looking for a time to fit their needs or maybe I should say, desires.
I was working on that letter and survey yesteday when another minister in town called me and we began talking about this. I commented to him that it somehow really turns my stomach to think that we have to work at it so hard to find a time to squeeze in a few moments to worship the Lord on the day that we celebrate his birth.
He said, "I think we need to worship at the normal time Darrell, and if the people don't want to come, then that is their choice." I agreed with him, and that is what we will be doing. (My church needs to look at the Harvest Church blog)
I wanted to explore this futher here.
Why is it we cannot find time, on all days, CHRISTMAS, not to worship Christ?
I know many will be out of town. I am not talking about that.
But I have heard things like: "Well, my family will be visiting, so we can't make it."
Hello? What a wonderful opportunity to get your family to come to church with you!
You might just be surprised to find that they would come if you would only ask them.
And what a statement for Christ you make to them by going without them. You are telling your family, "The most important thing in my life is Jesus Christ, and I wish you would join me... but with or without you, I will serve the Lord."
On the negative, when you choose to stay home because they are there, you tell them, that "Worshipping the Lord is not really that important; I can take it or leave it."
What is Christmas about?
Is it about Santa Claus?
Is it all about making the little one's happy?
Is it about family time?
It is about the birth of our Savior. Without his birth, there could be no cross.
It is the single most important day on the calendar to the Christian.
I know he was not literally born on December 25. But this is the day set aside to celebrate his birth. To celebrate the birth of our freedom, our redemption... our hope.
We in Christian circles often pick on our Catholic brothers and sisters... but I promise you this; THEIR churches will be filled on Christmas morning! There will be time for family afterward.
But they will make time to worship first.
Perhaps we can learn something from them?
Long ago, while I was in prison, one of my friends invited me to Mass on Christmas day. I had never been to a Catholic Mass before... but hey, I was in prison... and I did not have much on my agenda for that day... so I went. It was such a moving experience, that I can still remember how it felt, almost 22 years later.
I was sitting there and the reality of the whole thing hit me upside the head.
This was what this whole thing is about! It was kind of like the Grinch when he has that moment of realization in the Dr. Suess classic.
Suddenly it hit me so hard that there I was in prison, but more free than I had ever been in my entire life, because the God of creation clothed himself in flesh and stepped from the portals of heaven to live and walk among us... all the while headed toward the cross!
This is Christmas!
That entire day, I could not stop crying. All my friends kept thinking I was crying because I missed my family. I kept telling them that I was fine, but they would not leave me alone. I tried to explain... they thought I was nuts.
And you know what? Many will think you are nuts too when you choose to go to the House of God on Christmas. Some will call you a religious fanatic. Some church folk will say you are bound by legalism. But you must decide this for yourself: "Whose day is it anyway?"