Let me plead with you: worship Jesus with the gathered body of Christ on Christmas day.

This year, as happens from time to time, Christmas falls on a Sunday. Here’s the raw truth: church attendance at most churches on Christmas day is much lower than normal.

Why is this the case? In the best case scenarios, the intertia of family gatherings and traditions simply outweigh the priority of corporate worship. We are busy, and tired, and getting to church with x kids + cousins is just too much. In the worst case scenarios, we love our presents and our traditions more than Jesus.

I would like to offer a counter-cultural voice this year: make going to church on Christmas day a priority for your family.

Here are some reasons to worship with the church on Christmas day:

  1. Attending church on Christmas keeps the focus on Jesus. The point of Christmas is to celebrate the eternal Word becoming flesh to save sinners. Worshipping with the church will help you and your family keep Christ the central focus of your Christmas celebration.
  2. Attending church on Christmas teaches our families that Jesus and his mission are more important than presents and food. It’s hard enough as it is to keep our children focused on Christ in the midst of all the gift giving. When we skip church on Christmas day we unintentionally imply that other things are more important than Jesus and his mission.
  3. Attending church on Christmas encourages the body of Christ, especially those without earthly family. It’s easy to forget, but the church family is the family that will last for eternity. Earthly families are a blessing and important in our lives, but some of us have had to say goodbye to parents or siblings in order to follow Christ. We encourage those without families when we gather with them on a Christmas Sunday.
  4. Attending church on Christmas proves that we can say no to culture. Sometimes we just need to say no to cultural habits to remind ourselves that our agenda isn’t written by our society. From a cultural perspective, Santa overran Jesus many years ago. We can’t change that, but we can make sure it doens’t happen with the culture in our homes.

You might object: “We have a family tradition on Christmas morning. What does it say to my family to choose church over them?” Certainly travel plans and family schedules mean that we can’t all attend corporate worship on Christmas day. But many of us have a choice. I implore you to make the choice with God at the center of your priorities.

Please don’t misunderstand me. Family is good. Christmas is a unique time to share the gospel with many family members. Presents are good. We give gifts because God has given us the gift of a Savior in Jesus and eternal life in him. Traditions are good. They help us honor those who have gone before us. But Jesus and his church is better.

I humbly ask you, especially husbands and fathers, to make this Christmas about Jesus the Christ, and bring your family to worship with the gathered church on December 25th.

Ryan serves as the Senior Pastor of Green Pond Bible Chapel in Rockaway, New Jersey. He is married with four children.

One Comment on “Christmas on a Sunday?!

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