Christmas falls on a Sunday this year. That doesn’t happen very often. Roughly every few years, varying quite a bit due to leap years, the holiday will fall on a day that we will normally go to church. This leaves us with a decision to make.
Christmas is traditionally a time we spend with families. The better part of the day is spent in pajamas that is until we get dressed to go to Grandma’s house. We empty the stockings and open the gifts under the tree. We turn on our video cameras or smart phones to capture the expressions on little faces as the children open their presents. We enjoy a leisurely breakfast together, then later a feast for dinner. All the while playing Christmas carols from the iPod.
Spending time at church can really mess with these plans. But it isn’t going to stop me. I’m going to be here singing, praying and preaching, and I’ll tell you why (and it isn’t because I’m the pastor and I have to):
Every Sunday, we are called to give an hour or three from the entire week to come to church. Here, we worship and express our gratitude to the God who made us. This is our opportunity to draw nearer to God, to rest, to grow. In this time we celebrate the abundance we enjoy and the beautiful world in which we are permitted live. Even better, we do this in fellowship with a whole community of believers. In other words, I hope we would be here anyway.
You might have neighbors who don’t fully know the reason for the season. They might know something of the story, but not why it matters. Your car pulling out of the driveway, or into the church parking lot, could be a witness to those who need to know the very real hope that lies behind the glitter of the season.
Most obvious, Christmas is Jesus’s birthday – not ours, not even Grandma’s. We come to church on every Sunday to worship the God who gave us life, and who was gracious enough to send a savior. I don’t usually stay home from church on Easter. Why would Jesus’ birthday celebration be a reason not to worship?
So, I’ll be in church on Christmas Day and I hope you will too. In fact, I fully expect to see the hordes that surged into the retail outlets on Black Friday. Surely Jesus means more to Christmas than a sale on electronics at Walmart.
We have great services planned on both Christmas Eve and Christmas . They will tell again the Christmas story and remind us of the reason for our joy. I look forward to seeing you there.
Blessings, Rev. Nancy