As holiday shoppers flock to stores and the mall in search of the “perfect gift” the age old problem of the commercialization of Christmas rings true once again. What is this day that we are celebrating really all about? The Incarnation of Christ? Presents? Family? Santa Claus? All of the Above?
This year, the question of what we celebrate at Christmas (and on Sunday for that fact) takes on an even larger presence as Christmas Day happens to occur on a Sunday this year. For many Christians, this arrangement presents a fascinating conundrum.
A survey done by the Hartford Institute concluded the following:
“When Christmas falls on a Sunday it presents a problem for nearly every Protestant congregation – no matter what the size, shape or denominational affiliation. After talking with official researchers of several of the country’s major denominations, it is absolutely clear that when Christmas and Sunday service coincide – it is the Sunday service that loses. Attendance is always minimal on a Christmas Sunday.”
Why is that? Why is it that Christians who otherwise wear buttons and pins on their jackets that say “Keep Christ in Christmas” abandon corporate worship on a Christmas Sunday?
I for one happen to be looking forward to a “Son-day” Christmas this year. Why? Because it is a special treat that’s rare. From 2000-2050, Christmas Day and Sunday will coincide only eight times. (2005, 2011, 2016, 2022, 2033, 2039, 2044 and 2050). That means in 50 years I will only have eight chances to be “inconvenienced” or “edified” by Christmas occurring on a Sunday. I would so much rather be edified by it .
Perspective is so important to our Christian walk. Why we do the things we do, matters a lot. We at Timber Ridge are a family in Christ. What a blessing it is for us all to gather as that spiritual family in worship and celebration of Christmas! Now I am not saying “Be here at Timber Ridge on Christmas Day at all costs!” but I am saying to you maximize this “Son-day Christmas” event in 2016. Whether your family is coming to spend Christmas with you or you are traveling to see them, look at this Christmas Day as a great opportunity to worship together with them in church. Even if they don’t usually go to church, if you make it a priority to go to church that day, they might too. Don’t be upset or indifferent about the fact that Christmas happens to fall on a Sunday this year; see it as a great opportunity to put more of “Christ” into your “Christmas”. That is after all, what we often times say that we really want – right?