Whenever Christmas falls on a Sunday, Protestant churches see a decline in attendence. Some mega-churchesWillow Creek, IL; Southland Christian Church, KY; Fellowship Church, TX, and others have decided to cancel their Christmas services due to lack of interest.
I have to admit that I'm shocked by the decision to close churches on Christmas. It seems to me that we Christians are always lamenting the lack of "Christ in Christmas," so surely cancelling church services is like throwing up your hands and handing the holiday to Santa and his mega-corporation elves.
Bad decision. Terrible message. Dreadful symbolism.
One of my GodBlogCon friends is Pastor Mark Daniels, who writes great stuff over at Better Living. Mark has just posted Should Churches Close on Christmas?, and here is a bit of his good thinking on the subject:
Sunday is the day we Christians set aside to remember an event even more important than the birth of Jesus. Every Sunday, we Christians say, is to be a "little Easter," a weekly opportunity to thank and honor God for the new life that can be ours when we surrender our lives, our pasts, our futures, and our sins to that same Jesus. ...
Maybe on one Sunday in the year, the megachurches could do without their meticulously-crafted worship celebrations, effective though I'm sure they are in reaching people for Christ. That way, they wouldn't have to spend a lot of money. Such a stripped-down approach seems especially appropriate on the day we'll also remember the birth of the Savior not in a high-tech maternity ward, but in a smelly barn, Whose earthly parents were from peasant stock. God likes simple.