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Dear Christian,

There has been a lot of talk among us about Christmas falling on Sunday this year. I’ve read many responses from many churches. Some churches have decided to cancel services. Some have opted to only have a Christmas Eve service while others have canceled Christmas Eve and opted to only have a Sunday morning service. As a Pastor, I wondered how that discussion might go at my church. I’ll tell you how it went, it didn’t. It wasn’t even a thought to cancel either. I explain why below, but first, I’d like to make an appeal to you this week, without laying a guilt trip. I understand that many of you may be traveling and some of you even working and my appeal is not an option.

If at all possible, make it a priority to attend worship this Sunday.

Even if you are away I’d encourage you to attend a church wherever you are. I understand that many of you may have family in town. I understand that many of you may have family in town that may not even be believers (Can I just say that this is even more reason to plan on joining us? What an opportunity to communicate to the ones we love about the priority of worshiping Jesus on the Lord’s Day!). I understand that we all have traditions on Christmas mornings. Pj’s, hot cocoa (in my case a vat of coffee), videos of the kiddos opening their gifts they spent the last month and a half trying to sneak a peek at while they were hidden in your closet… I know how it goes.

With that in mind, let’s consider another question I was recently asked, “Why are we celebrating Christmas?” In short, we aren’t. At least not the pagan version we’ve been sold. We are celebrating the incarnation of the Son of God. Which is really what we are doing every Sunday. Going to church on Christmas reminds us of the point of Christmas. We are gathering to receive and celebrate the greatest gift to mankind, Jesus.

I know that this requires some sacrifice, but consider this. Jesus sacrificed His life so that we could be made right with God. We find no issue gathering every Resurrection Sunday, but there would be no resurrection without the birth! When we look to the nativity, it must be done so in the shadow of the cross! Can we sacrifice an hour of our time to gather with the family of God in response? We won’t have to do it for another 7 years! God shifted the world on its axis to bring us Jesus (Luke 2) as we will explore this Christmas Eve, certainly we can adjust our plans a bit. We can always put those PJ’s back on.. you had better believe that I intend to! Again, some of us may be providentially hindered and there’s much grace for that! For some of us, we may need a boost of encouragement to think through things. In a world steeped in the commercialism of Christmas, what might it communicate to our community (or the community you are in) to see full church lots on Christmas morning? Even more so, what might it communicate to God?

When we meet week-by-week to worship God we don’t do it because of mere tradition. We do so because God is worthy of our worship, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12) What a unique, once in every 7 years opportunity! We get to do just that on the day that we celebrate the incarnation!

Hope, peace, love, and joy in Jesus to you all!