No church on Christmas?

  • Follow Your Faith

Christmas falls on Sunday once about every seven years. That inspired questions from the congregation several weeks back, recalled the Rev. Carolyn Moore, the pastor of Mosaic United Methodist Church in Evans.

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Luke Bauer, 3, of Evans, listened to a Christmas story at Mosaic United Methodist Church on Christmas. Children were invited to wear their pajamas and "curl up with the King."  Emily Rose Bennett/Staff
Emily Rose Bennett/Staff
Luke Bauer, 3, of Evans, listened to a Christmas story at Mosaic United Methodist Church on Christmas. Children were invited to wear their pajamas and "curl up with the King."

“People asked, ‘Will we have church on Christmas Day?’ It hadn’t even occurred to me that we wouldn’t,” Moore said.

With Christmas on a Sunday this year, the pastors of some Protestant churches canceled or consolidated Christmas services in favor of larger Christmas Eve celebrations.

Not at Mosaic, Moore said. On Sunday morning, the church held a festive service, with children in their pajamas invited to “curl up with the King” as they listened to the Christmas story found in the Bible.

Stevens Creek Church in Augusta was one of several to hold services on Christmas Eve, but not on Christmas.

“At the Creek, our families are one of the most important things to us. We encourage you to invest in those relationships more than ever this Christmas, as you celebrate the birth of Christ and the wonderful life He gives,” said an announcement from the church, which held five Christmas Eve services.

True North Church in North Augusta held four services in the two days leading up to Christmas, but none on Christmas Day.

Several churches – including First Baptist of Augusta, First Presbyterian of Augusta, New Life Christian Center and St. John’s United Methodist in Aiken – chose to have just one Sunday morning service instead of the usual two or more.

That’s a common option when Christmas falls on Sunday, according to a LifeWay Research survey. More than 90 percent of Protestant churches planned to hold at least one Christmas Day service this year.

“Having church on Christmas Day when it falls on a Sunday seems as if it would be as much of a given as having Thanksgiving on a Thursday, but this has been an issue of discussion and contention in recent years,” said Ed Stetzer, the president of LifeWay Research, in a news release.

Many churches seem unwilling to “inconvenience” families on Christmas, said Moore, who wrote about her decision to hold Christmas services in a blog post titled, “Why I will go to church on Christmas.”

“No matter what the ads and movies say, Christmas is not ultimately about family,” she wrote. “It is about God. Don’t get me wrong. I love my family a lot, but they didn’t rise from the dead for me. On Christmas morning, I’ll be sitting in the house of the One who loved me so much that He gave His only Son. And I will preach the good news about the Messiah as if it is the most important present any of us will ever receive.”

Cedar Creek Church, with campuses in Aiken and Batesburg, S.C., is among those that didn’t meet on Christmas Day.

The decision was made several months ago, and was largely driven by the church’s senior pastor, the Rev. Phillip Lee, a father of five, said Wes Holbrook, the campus pastor of Cedar Creek Church West, which meets at the University of South Carolina Convocation Center.

“It’s more important for us to give families an option to be home,” said Holbrook.

Comments (23) Add comment
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KNECKBONE
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KNECKBONE 12/25/11 - 06:44 pm
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS

Will
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Will 12/25/11 - 07:53 pm
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They don't want the kids
Unpublished

They don't want the kids going Trick or Treat on a Sunday, but they don't want to go to church on Jesus' birthday?! See ... this just goes to show how severely screwed up this country is. I rest my case....

Just My Opinion
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Just My Opinion 12/25/11 - 09:16 pm
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Will, I think the real point

Will, I think the real point to consider is to do it the way YOU think is the right way. We were at our church's Christmas Eve service last night, and I saw people there I knew who went to other churches that weren't having a Christmas Eve service..and that's what they wanted to attend. I'm not so much wrapped up in WHEN they go, I'm just glad that folks are actually going to a service that celebrates the birth of Jesus. After all, it's been proven (as much as possible) that Christ wasn't born on December 25, so that particular point is moot.

scoopdedoop64
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scoopdedoop64 12/26/11 - 12:50 am
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Our church had a special

Our church had a special candle light service on Wed. night and then had 11:00 worship hour today. I think too much can be read into how and when each church chooses to worship. Just make sure that you honor the Lord on His birthday the best you can. Happy Birthday, Jesus!

cytoranger
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cytoranger 12/26/11 - 01:47 am
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While.my family and.I

While.my family and.I attended church Christmas eve and today I see.the point. Folks can worship anywhere and when they.choose .Each persons relationship with God is.both.individual and.personal you can worship in the woods of you want, in fact I recomend it. Nothing more personal than.some alone Time with..the Big Man and his nature. Praise him wherever and whenever you want .but as the.husband of a Methodist pastor I would recommend.you visit his house sometime and meet your brothers and sister in Christ.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 12/26/11 - 09:53 am
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I agree with Carolyn Moore.

I agree with Carolyn Moore. Convenience is not more important than worship. It's sad when churches make convenience the overriding issue.

It is correct that Jesus was most likely not born on Dec. 25. As far as I know, there's no direct biblical command to worship on Sunday either. The book of Acts tells us that the early Christians met on the first day of the week, so that's the tradition we follow. However, they met a lot. Maybe even most every day in addition to Sunday. So, we have some flexibility when it comes to holding worship services.

But as Moore says, your family did not die for you. Jesus did. What better place to be on Christmas morning than in a worship service that honors and remembers the King of Christmas?

Riverman1
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Riverman1 12/26/11 - 09:58 am
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Well, you don't need church

Well, you don't need church to get religion. My Uncle Shakey used to get drunk every Saturday night, wake up early Sunday morning and watch gospel TV while smoking Camels and drinking 16 oz cans of Old Milwaukee. When a group sang The Old Rugged Cross he would cry. Nobody bothered him Sunday mornings. That man was religious as those in the front row pew all dressed up.

YeCats
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YeCats 12/26/11 - 11:38 am
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I agree with every word you

I agree with every word you posted there, Riverman. And the key word is "religious".

ConcernedTaxpayer
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ConcernedTaxpayer 12/26/11 - 11:55 am
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The Pharisees were religious

The Pharisees were religious and followed the law to the tee, but Jesus condemned them for being hypocrites and called them whitewashed grave tombs.

Cirroc2012
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Cirroc2012 12/26/11 - 12:33 pm
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Jesus gave his life for us!!

Jesus gave his life for us!! He should praised everyday...this is the most commercialized time of the year, where people who have no money are going broke, people killing others and stores are making money. Jesus must be very upset with us for honoring a day that he was not born on that causes many so much pain and grief.

DaddyFrog
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DaddyFrog 12/26/11 - 12:58 pm
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What gets me is people raise

What gets me is people raise cane about " taking Christ out of Christmas", then when they have a chance to go to church on a Christmas day the churches shut down. Another thing is the big controversy about the Nativity scenes on public property. My wife and I drove around looking at Christmas lights on Christmas eve. We didn't see the first church with a live Nativity scene. They used to be all over the place. In fact there weren't but a couple of private homes with Nativity displays. I don't think people have to worry about the ACLU and atheists attacking Christ in Christmas. We're doing the job for them. People were tearing doors off stores to buy $180 NIKE shoes, stabbing each other, spraying each other with pepper spray to get the last X-Box 360. And churches are closed on Christmas. Give me a break !

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 12/26/11 - 05:07 pm
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Come on Daddyfrog, not ALL

Come on Daddyfrog, not ALL the churches closed on Christmas. Anyone complaining, should look around. There is a church on almost every corner. Stop, go in, and worship, membership is not a requirement.

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 12/26/11 - 05:15 pm
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And River, I do get what you

And River, I do get what you are saying about ole Uncle Shakey. He may very well have asked God for the free gift of salvation, may even "know" God in some kind of way. But Uncle Shakey still lives in bondage, living a dysfunctional, defeated, lifestyle, modelling wrong things for his family; wasting his life and all the gifts that the Lord has given to him.

Going to church doesn't get us to heaven....
But staying isolated doesn't get us healed from our earthly dysfunctional, unhealthy lives.

We need to be in relationship with a HEALTHY body of believers. God knows that, and that is why He has called us into gathering with other believers.

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 12/26/11 - 05:18 pm
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And it is NOT RELIGION,

And it is NOT RELIGION, that we should seek. Jesus hated the religious! It is a relationship of love, honor, worship, respect and obediance with our Savior. With each other it is agape love: one of mutual respect and the right to choose.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 12/26/11 - 05:19 pm
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Willow, Uncle Shakey is long

Willow, Uncle Shakey is long gone. I'm sure booze hurried his exit. But realize all of us don't rotate our tires on time. Many are very religious without going to church. He was.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 12/26/11 - 05:23 pm
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Like I said, Uncle Shakey

Like I said, Uncle Shakey would have tears streaming down his face through the cigarette smoke when The Old Rugged Cross was sung. I'm sure he had a " relationship of love, honor, worship, respect and obediance with our Savior."

Really, Willow he was one of the most God fearing, worshipping people I've ever known. He had his problems, no doubt.

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 12/26/11 - 05:31 pm
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River, then I rejoice that

River, then I rejoice that Uncle Shakey is with the Lord. My point, is, no, we don't have to be in a certain place every Sunday, following some specific set of rules. But we do need each other IN Christ and we need to be disciplined in our commitment to worship, study, pray and grow in the things of the Lord. Our God created us for relationships. Our mistake, is seeking unhealthy ones or unhealthy things to fill the hole that
is created in us without them (healthy realtionships).

DaddyFrog
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DaddyFrog 12/26/11 - 06:28 pm
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Willow, I should have said, "

Willow, I should have said, " some churches shut down ", because the one I attend was open. I guess it's just the idea that any church would be closed on Christmas doesn't seem right. What's next, are some going to close on Easter so people can go to the Masters Golf Tournament ? I reckon I'm too old fashioned. Back in the day if Christmas Day fell on Sunday or even if it didn't, churches didn't close on Sundays.

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 12/26/11 - 06:36 pm
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That makes your position

That makes your position clearer to me, Daddyfrog. I'm just thinking a great number of those complaining, weren't going anyway, and those who desire to go, can find an open door.

BamaMan
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BamaMan 12/27/11 - 03:00 pm
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It's not our call to not have

It's not our call to not have church on Christmas Day when it lands on Sunday. The Bible says when we are to have church, and I certainly do not have the authority to change what the Bible says, and neither does anyone else, including preachers. The Bible says to not change, add or take away from what is written. Sorry if that offends some, but I answer to a higher power,and will answer only to Him on Judgment Day. Holbrook says they like to give families the OPTION??? And they supposedly celebrate Christ's birth on December 25th, which I don't think is when He was born anyway; the fact of the matter is, that He WAS born, but even more important is that He DIED for us. We aren't given choices about alot of things when it comes obeying God. People really need to get back to the Bible and SEE what it says.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 12/27/11 - 03:27 pm
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Bamaman, thank you for your

Bamaman, thank you for your post. Your writing made me think of something I've never realized. Honoring the sabbath is more important than keeping Christmas. The weekly sabbath was instituted by God, versus the annual Christmas instituted by man.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 12/28/11 - 10:18 am
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Christians don't keep the

Christians don't keep the Sabbath. That's old Jewish Saturday. Christians have traditionally kept "The Lord's Day" on Sunday, most likely to celebrate Resurrection Sunday. But again, there's no direct biblical command to attend church on Sunday. It's what we read that the early Christians did, so that's good enough for me. But, we also read that they met more than just on Sunday. The command is for Christians not to neglect meeting together for worship, fellowship, instruction, service, etc. We have some flexibility in choosing when and where.

But I totally agree: to make worship on Christmas morning an "option" sure seems to defeat the purpose of Christmas.

Bruno
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Bruno 12/28/11 - 10:28 am
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Actually Sabbath is a weekly

Actually Sabbath is a weekly day of rest and time of worship. It wasn't set to one particular day of the week. The Jewish people chose Saturday but that doesn't mean that it had to be that day or that God said "Saturday". or "Sunday". The week of seven days as we know it with the corresponding names most likely started around 400 years after Jesus died. The reason for the Sabbath is traced back to Genesis and God resting on the 7th day. Since we don't really know if he started on a Monday or on late Thursday afternoon it is silly to argue about which day of the week we use now. I think that the point is to keep one day holy and worshipful. Unless you are an atheist and then you should be at work. :)

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 12/28/11 - 10:57 am
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Thank you, Bruno. I was

Thank you, Bruno. I was using the word sabbath in a generic way in my post up above. Taking one day each week and making it special in one's own heart and mind to worship God is what I was referring to.

True, most Christian denominations set aside Sunday as the day of rest, reflection, and worship; but there are some denominations, such as the Seventh Day Adventists, who keep the Sabbath on Saturday.

Jews and Muslims mark the beginning of the Sabbath as sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.

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