A life of love

A life of love
Everyone should have a Great Pyrenees

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Day services or no Christmas Day services?

Agghhhh!  I got caught in a facebook debate today regarding Christmas Day and whether churches should have services because it is a Sunday.  Sigh.

Okay, Christmas Day happens to fall on a Sunday.  Yep, I get it.  I love our church, I firmly believe that attending a service with other believers is very important.  We volunteer many hours at our church and have for MANY years.  We continue to do so.  I will be withdrawing from teaching the three year olds when our little girls get home, more because they will need every second of my attention as we transition and I just cannot take any time off of that.  I LOVE teaching the three year olds!!!  They are so delightful, so joyful, so interesting, so lovely.  I will return to teaching them someday, when our littles don't need me as much.  Steve sings in church, weekly and will continue to do so until infinity, or his voice gives way.  Our boys serve in video ministry.  Alex serves in Latino worship band with his guitar.  The girls volunteer in the preschool.  We help out for special events, try to do whatever is needed.  No one expects or has ever asked for a thank you.  We get up at about 5AM on Sundays to get chores done on the farm before we get to church for 7:15 to 8AM (if we take two cars some of us can come later).  Then we are there until nearly 1PM.  And we love it.  We really do.  We tend to relax Sunday afternoons after a busy morning!

But, with Christmas falling on a Sunday, it was looking to be a challenge.  Can you imagine?  Christmas morning can wait, it surely can, but wow, it is a lot to ask of kids.  Adults, we can live with it.  Kids, agony, but they would and would be fine.  But when our Pastor announced that we would NOT be having a Christmas morning service, I have to admit that I was nearly grateful to tears.  Just the thought of getting up Christmas morning, throwing a pan of cinnamon rolls into the oven for my kids' hungry tummies, opening presents with their excited faces, in our pajamas, just sounded so wonderful.  Being able to sip coffee while watching them enjoy the things we so carefully thought out for them, not having to rush, or worry about getting fancied up, wow, it was beyond belief!!! 

See, for many years, especially with Steve singing, we have always been at church hours early, through all the services, helping in whatever way we can - we were there anyway at the very least.    We spent every Christmas, every Christmas Eve, every Sunday, every Easter, all of it, at church.  Sometimes that was hard, with kids and all.  The year Pastor Mark came on board and announced that for Christmas Eve he and his sons would be putting on the Christmas Eve service, it was the gift they were giving their musicians and singers and helpers.  We were shocked.  We had never, ever been able to be at home, with our own traditions or extended families.  Never in our married lives.  In our children's lives.  What a profound gift he gave us that year.  I literally sat in the pew and cried as it sunk in what that meant.  As much as we would have love to have attended, it was beyond amazing to celebrate it at home, with our kids, at our leisure.  It was so very special. 

So, this year, our wonderful church - Celebration Church in Green Bay - will NOT have a Christmas Day service.  It WILL have FABULOUS Christmas Eve services.  We all can pick up a DVD that they have available of a Christmas message and worship so we can do church at home, with our families. We WILL be doing that, and thankfully!

If you want to go to church, there are some who will be having services.  Please go!  Or attend Christmas Eve services instead.  We will celebrate our Lord's birth at our home.  I will listen to my kids' laughter, see their surprises, enjoy coffee with my husband and make a yummy breakfast for my kids.  Christ is all about families.  We live out our faith every single day, not just one day.  I hope that isn't taken as being selfish, but I am so happy that we can celebrate at home.  I think some folks are missing all that it takes to bring a great church service about.  I think they should volunteer also!  Come join in, serve others!  Our church literally takes at least 50 people there at 7AM to bring it all about.  That's a lot of families!  So, they were given the gift of the holiday at home, as a family from start to finish.  Personally, I don't think Christ begrudges me that joy!

So, Merry Christmas, no matter how you choose to spend it. However you do, it is all about the same thing!  Christ's miraculous birth and all that entails!  Thank you Jesus!!!!

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

1 comment:

Tina Hollenbeck said...

As I told you on Facebook, I'm jealous! :^) Our church is having a service on Sunday - just one, not the usual two - and I agreed to run video because no one else on the video team was available. It didn't hit me at the time that I'll have to rush off after we open presents - though I did quickly decide when I had that realization that I'm going to insist that my hubby and kids stay home. And, hopefully, I'll be back before they even really know I'm gone. :^) But I now think it really would have been best to rescind the services all together - for the very reasons you list...and because, after all, we'll all be in church on Christmas Eve. Yes, Christmas is on a Sunday, but we don't normally have a Christmas Day service so it could have been justified that way. I'll keep my commitment - but seriously think twice about it in six years when Christmas comes on Sunday again! :^)

We're also actually visiting a different church than our own on Christmas Eve. Normally I wouldn't dream of that, but there's been so much "drama" at our church this fall - and I'm just tired of it...tired of subtle messages embedded into the sermon, tired of wondering at motivations. By God's grace, our church situation will be healed very quickly - we believe we'll have some movement by mid-January - but I just can't take having my Christmas Eve worship tainted by the politics. So we're going to head somewhere else - a joint service between two congregations in the church where we were married. And I'm looking forward to peace. :^)