Should We Have Church on Christmas Day?
I love Christmas—the lights, the food, the family, the magic. But every year December 25 falls on a Sunday (as it does this year), I’m beyond troubled that some of my brethren will not meet. When I was interviewing for a congregation in Tennessee well over 10 years ago, the congregation decided one Sunday we were there not to meet on December 25; their reasoning was that Christmas is a day for families to be together. All across the country, churches will shutter their doors in a couple weeks so that families can spend time together on Christmas.
To be very frank, I don’t even know where to start. The people of God meet on the Lord’s Day—period. “On the first day of the week, . . . we were gathered together to break bread” (Acts 20:7). “On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper” (1 Cor 16:2); if you carefully study what Paul taught about the assembly in 1 Corinthians, he obviously was saying Christians are to come together “on the first day of every week.”
Think, if you will, about what those first-century brethren faced to come together “on the first day of every week.” Those disciples faced the real possibility of losing their property or their freedom or their lives if they worshiped with God’s people. And, some Christians today want to skip an assembly to spend time with their family—give me a break!
Honestly, though, as we meet together on the first day of the week, we assemble with our family. The Triune God is our ultimate family; God is our Father (cf. Matt 6:9, et al.) and Jesus is our brother (cf. Heb 2:11). We ourselves are brothers and sisters, and what better way to spend a special family holiday than being with brothers and sisters with whom we anticipate eternity?
And, speaking of our earthly families, could there be any greater way to spend time together than gathered around the throne of God in humble and obedient worship? If you can think of a better use of family time, please let me know what it is. I’m going to be out of town on December 25 so that I might spend the holidays with my physical family. Tammy and I are anticipating not only being with our loved ones but doing something we seldom get to do anymore—worshiping our God with them.
On Christmas Day, people throughout the world will remember Jesus’s glorious birth a little over two millennia ago. Let us not neglect to gather around his table and to remember his death, his resurrection, and his promised coming on that day, too.