The Dreaded Holiday Schedule
John Lydgate once said, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”. As a pastor I know this all too well. I often have to make decisions that some people love and other people loathe. The dreaded Holiday service schedule is always one of them. I heard rumbles from people who disapproved of cancelling some services while others were annoyed they have to come to church on Christmas. Sometimes pastors can't win. :)
To the "Why do we have to have church on Christmas!?!" guy - I get it. It throws your holiday routine into chaos. Getting the kids to church on a regular Sunday is hard enough, but with all the hustle and bustle of Christmas morning it's crazy. Yes.Yes it is. However, I would imagine that you've told your child all Christmas season that 'Jesus is the reason for the season' but if you skip church on Sunday because of family obligations, what type of message are you sending? When your kid looks you in the eye and says, "If Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus, why did we not go to church?" How will you answer? Parents, show your children the value of Christ by making worship on Christmas a priority. I would encourage you to wake up early on Christmas morning to open gifts, worship as a family @ 11:00, and then for the rest of the day celebrate the blessings of another year with your family and friends.
To the "Why would he cancel services during the holidays!?!" guy - I've been pastor long enough to know that certain times of the year attendance ALWAYS goes down. The Holidays are one of those times. Family and friends are a gift; enjoy them. We are not justified by God on the basis of how faithful we are to attend services when the doors are open. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Not having Wednesday services for a few weeks will not cause anyone mortal peril and cancelling a Sunday Night service will not spell doom for our church. In fact, this is a perfect time to open your home and have people over. Take the next few Wednesday night to have people in your home. Hear their life stories, laugh with them, and pray with them. If you do this you may be surprised how much your relationships grow when you are not worried about your responsibilities at the church. I promise you won't be disappointed when you open your home and open your hearts. Here is the perfect opportunity!
For these reasons and more, we have a 'holiday' worship schedule. I purposefully streamline the services for the holidays because it is a hectic time. The last thing I want to do is make coming to church a drag. This gives you time to rest, love, and enjoy your friends and family. However, I refuse to rob of you the blessing of celebrating the birth of Christ on the Lord's day even if it does make Christmas a bit hectic.
I hope to see you Christmas Morning at 11:00 a.m. to celebrate the advent of our Lord Jesus. It will be a wonderful blessing to celebrate, "Good News of Great Joy that will be for all people!" with you.
p.s. Here is an article by Kevin DeYoung titled, "Don't Cancel Church on Christmas" that went into my thinking and my decision to cut back on the holiday schedule but maintain worship on Christmas.