This holiday season, Christmas falls on a Sunday. Back in 2005, when this last happened, it was the first time I heard of churches not holding services on the day. This created a bit of a controversy within Christian circles. Locally, I heard people say the church should always be open, even if they weren’t going to attend the services. Why weren’t they going to attend? They were going to spend Christmas Day with their family.
I have a bit of an issue with this mentality.
When this controversy came up, it was at a time when Jana and I were talking about our Christmas celebrations and future family. We made the decision to always spend Christmas Day home with our family. If Christmas Day fell on a Sunday, I would not work that day. If I needed to, I would use a vacation day to prevent working on it.
The past few years, Jana and I have enjoyed spending Christmas at home with our boys. They love the day, and have fond memories of it.
This holiday season, I’m in the throes of getting ready to launch an Online Campus. We are testing every Sunday morning in the lead up to the launch. One of the first things I realized, when the launch date was finalized, was that Christmas was on a Sunday, and that it’d be near the launch date. Jana and I talked about the schedule conflict a bit, but in the end there wasn’t much discussion. I was not going to work Christmas Day.
I want to do what I can to make sure work never creeps into my time that is devoted to family. To make sure that happens, I have to be intentional about setting and keeping boundaries.
So, we’ll test one of the Christmas Eve services, on Saturday, with the Online Campus. Not only does this free me up, it frees up my volunteers.
Speaking of volunteers…At Christ Community Church, it takes a couple hundred volunteers to make Sunday services happen. Volunteers in Children’s Ministries, the Production Team, Worship Bands, Student Leaders, Prayer Team, Guest Services and many more. Around the holidays, CCC wants to make sure our volunteers are able to spend time with family and friends.
We still will have a stripped down service on Christmas Day, but the service is stripped down so volunteers are able to spend time with their families.
Those that are adamant the Sunday services should still happen on Christmas Day, while not attending them because they want to celebrate with their families, should think through their opinion. They should think about the hundreds of volunteers, and their families, potentially sacrificing their Christmas to keep up someone else’s ideas of traditions and appearances.
This is my opinion.
I’m not against having Sunday services on Christmas. I just want people to think through the ramifications of their opinions. I want church staff, and volunteers, to not feel the pressure to work that day. If staff and volunteers do want to serve, and there are those that do, that is wonderful. I know people who do want to come and worship on Christmas Day, when it falls on a Sunday. The day should be joyous, not one of dread and/or resentment for staff and volunteers who might have to sacrifice family to help with the services.
It should be a “Merry Christmas” for all.