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On Churches Canceling Worship Service on Christmas Day: What’s the Point?

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What better way to celebrate the birth of the living God than to cancel worship service and hang out with pagans all day? Well, that appears to be the motive for many churches this year. Since Christmas day happens to fall on a Sunday this year, many churches are opting to forget Christ and, well, just do the Santa thing all day.

I don’t want to get into a debate on whether or not Christmas was originally a pagan holiday and Christians who celebrate it are actually worshiping pagan deities. For those of you who wish to embellish that notion, I’ll just refer you to this video and caution you on judgmentalism in this area (Colossionas 2:16).

That being said, that doesn’t mean that certain practices themselves can’t be judged—and one of those practices that should rightly be judged to be ungodly is churches canceling worship service on the Lord’s Day simply because that day happens to be Christmas. Why? What is the point? We Christians want to argue that Christmas is about Christ yet when Christmas falls on the Lord’s day, should we neglect to worship Him corporately with our spiritual family?

That certainly doesn’t sound like “putting Christ back in Christmas” or whatever the virtue-signaling phrase is these days.

Since the creation of the Church, the body of Christ has gathered together on Sunday mornings, known as the Lord’s day, to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. Yet, some churches have made it common practice to neglect this gathering in favor of “more important” things. Every few years, accounting for leap year, Christmas falls on a Sunday. And every few years, Andy Stanley’s Northpoint Church cancels worship service that day.

It happened in 2016, and it’s happening again this year. But don’t worry, if you’re a member of Northpoint, you’ll be able to catch their On-Demand event available starting on December 25 where you can gather around the Christmas tree with your drunk uncle and liberal in-laws with “some hot cocoa for a one-of-a-kind telling of the Christmas story” because “This beautiful and powerful 27-minute experience will capture the imagination of kids from one to ninety-two.” Yep, no need to gather with the saints to worship Christ corporately—we got bigger and better things to do.

And just to be clear, I reached out to Northpoint to verify that I wasn’t missing something and reading their event calendar wrong. And just as I suspected, I wasn’t reading anything wrong. In fact, you can come to any one of the four convenient Christmas Eve services that they’ve designed for your schedule on any of the two days before Christmas.

So who cares? Why does it matter? It just demonstrates that the vast majority of what masquerades as the Church today is about everything but the glory of God and the worship of Him as the risen Lord and Savior of His people. Sure, there are times when one is providentially hindered from making it to church from time to time. But to cancel worship and give your church family nowhere to gather on the Lord’s Day is, well, very un-churchlike.

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