My good friend, Steve Wilkins, has already written a few insightful thoughts on the subject. It is not hard to find churches all over the country cancelling Christmas Sunday. In many ways this is a theological travesty. The celebration of Christmas on the 25th is a long held tradition going back to the 4th century. The Church elected this day to celebrate the birthday of our Lord. However, many in our day have imbibed of cultural Christmas, wishing to indulge in everything else, but the worship of the Triune God. How is it possible to celebrate an ecclesiastial holy day by abandoning the ecclesia? This makes no sense.
But as churches and church-goers debate whether they should gather together, not forsaking the assembly (Heb. 10:25), many of us have made a clear commitment to honor our Lord’s incarnation on this sacred day.
It is not often that (see note at the end) the church celebrates Christmas on a Sunday. Indeed a rare occasion that should be viewed with even greater enthusiasm by the Christian community. This is a wonderful opportunity to re-iterate our loyalty to Christ and his Bride. Christ and Church go together. Attempting to celebrate one without the other is biblically irreconcilable.
But what are the cultural implications for such a view? What does that say about our evangelical culture’s understanding of the role of the Church? It is safe to conclude that this perspective is openly hostile to the early church and the reformation, who stated unequivocally that outside the church there is no ordinary possibility of salvation. The ecclesia speaks salvation to the world. By embracing the world’s paradigm the modern church is being de-Christianized.
When any excuse serves as a substitute to not be present where God desires his people to be, then God’s people have in some way ceased to truly rejoice; they no longer sense the psalmist’s joy when he said, “I rejoiced when they said unto me: Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
Am I going to Church on Christmas Day? As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Note: My friend Randy Evans correctly observes: ”Christmas was on Sunday six years ago last time – and the time before that it was eleven years. The next dates are 2016, 2022, 2033, 2039, 2044 and 2050.”