It doesn’t happen very often. In fact, the last two times it occurred were in 2005 and 2011. The next time will be in 2022, and after that not until 2033 and then 2039.
What is this rare occasion? It’s when Christmas Day—December 25—falls on a Sunday.
And, you may have heard that some churches are not having worship gatherings that day. In fact, however, while they may make the news, those that cancel are part of a small minority.
According to a LifeWay Research study published in Christianity Today a few days ago, fully 89% of churches will have one or more services on Christmas Day, and 63% will have services on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
At Ingleside we plan to have services at 3:30, 5:00, and 7:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and at 10:30 a.m. on Christmas Day.
So, as you make plans for this weekend, here are four good reasons that you and your family should consider making worship at Ingleside a priority on Sunday, December 25.
Reason #1: It’s a concrete way to say that Jesus is first. More important than the toys and gifts, lunches and dinners, football and family gatherings, in the life of a Christ-follower God‘s intention is that Jesus “have first place in everything” (Colossians 1:15, NASB). So, when we rearrange our Christmas Day activities to put genuine worship in the priority place, the lesson for our families is a good one: Jesus really is first!
Reason #2: It will strengthen your soul-enriching and life-ordering habit of weekly worship on the Lord’s Day. From New Testament times forward, Christ-followers have always gathered for worship “on the first day of the week” (Acts 20:7, ESV). It’s one of the rhythms of life that we gladly embrace to remind us to live in step with God’s Spirits (Galatians 5:25, NIV). That a Lord’s Day should also be Christmas Day is hardly a reason to break the tempo. Rather, it should add emphasis to a pattern that is for our good and God’s glory!
Reason #3: It will affirm that our faith is intended to be expressed in community. Private devotions and family worship are key ingredients in a healthy spiritual diet. But they are not intended to replace the others-oriented dynamic experienced in the body of Christ. In fact, the Scripture specifically warns: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing.” Why? Because it’s in community that we “encourage one another” and “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24-25, NIV). Gathering with others to worship on Christmas Day is a powerful way to say: it’s really not all about me and mine!
Reason #4: It will send a clear message about where my allegiance lies. The battle of worldviews and truth-claims is raging in our culture today. But such a clash is really nothing new. That’s why long ago a seasoned spiritual warrior challenged one new to the battle: “Fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Timothy 6:12, ESV). What is the battle dress of the enemy today? It’s a faith-diminishing relativism, a soul-emptying materialism, a community-robbing individualism, and a spirit-killing secularism. So, I’ll count it a privilege to put on the armor of God and rally to the battle flag of King Jesus on Christmas Day. I don’t want there to be any question about where my allegiance lies.
Of course, because there is freedom in Christ about such matters (cf. Colossians 2:16), I have neither quarrel with nor a judgmental spirit toward those who might choose to do otherwise. We have long since abandoned a posture of legalism.
But I intend to worship with our family of faith at Ingleside on Sunday, December 25. I hope to see you there!
Your Pastor and Friend,