Thursday, December 08, 2005
Taking Christ Out of Christmas
No, it's not the ACLU or the People for the American Way, or any of the usual suspects this time. I am still stunned by the news reports that a number of churches are going to cancel worship services on December 25. These aren't liberal churches, they are conservative evangelical churches -- including some Christian churches (click here for an ongoing discussion about this). If Wayne Smith were dead, he would be rolling over in his grave.
I agree with my friend David Willis who says that this is the inevitable consequence of abandoning the emphasis on “the first day of the week.” The fact that secular news agencies have picked up on this story demonstrates just how whacked-out it is. Even the world recognizes that canceling is rather strange. Christmas isn’t even the issue with me – it’s the idea of blowing off worship on the Lord’s Day – although the fact that it’s Christmas makes it even more ironic. Can canceling on Mothers’ Day, Father’s Day, or even Easter be far behind?
My father-in-law had a classic response to one of his church members who inquired about worship on Dec. 25. He said, “Well I would hope that at least the CHRISTIANS will be here.”
Please, this isn’t about inconveniencing people in order to test their orthodoxy or their allegiance to Christ. It’s about the fact that many believers actually WANT to worship on that day, EVERY WEEK, and especially on Christmas.
Ben Witherington has a good post about this. And the Get Religion blog weighs in as well.
Truth is stranger than fiction. Granted, I have no idea what it is like to lead a church of thousands, but still... I have to wonder if whatever they think they have "gained" by not having Christmas service (family time, a break for volunteers, etc.) is not going to be far outweighed by the negative press, etc.