In my time as your pastor, the first time Christmas Day fell on Sunday was in 2009. I remember our Worship & Arts Team discussed what we should do about our worship gatherings given that reality.
After all, by this time our 11 PM Christmas Eve Service of Lessons & Carols was well established and well loved. We toyed with the idea of canceling that service (which, of course, would begin late Saturday night) and combining that with an early morning (6 am!) Christmas Day Worship. We promptly nixed that idea for reasons I’m sure you can guess.
We had heard that some churches were cancelling their usual Sunday morning worship service(s) because it was Christmas Day. What?!? Not worship on Sunday because it is Christmas Day?!? That made no sense to anyone – “Of course we’ll worship on Sunday! It’s Christmas Day!” After all, without Christmas (the Incarnation) and more so, Easter (the Resurrection) we don’t exist as a faith and we’re not meeting for anything on a Sunday! So, we decided to do both: Christmas Eve (as per usual) at 11 pm and Sunday morning (Christmas Day) worship at 10 am – as per usual.
As I recall, our Christmas Eve service that year was beautiful and meaningful and well attended, as it usually is. To my delight our Sunday Christmas worship the next morning (just some 10 hours later!) was also beautiful and meaningful … and, to my surprise, also well attended!
To this day, that 2009 Sunday Christmas morning worship remains one of my favorites; there was a palpable undercurrent of unfettered joy from the moment folks began to arrive. There was a sense of release and gladness throughout the morning. We sang Christmas favorites from the hymnal, prayed, laughed and shared the glad tidings of great joy from the Scriptures. Afterwards, we enjoyed an unhurried and relaxed coffee hour munching on left over Christmas cookies we all brought for the occasion.
So, let’s do it again! I know many will be traveling and won’t be with us either on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day or both. For those, God’s richest blessings on you and safety in your travels as you rejoice with distant family and friends! But for those who will be here this coming weekend, I encourage you, if at all possible, to double your joy by joining us for worship on Saturday, December 24th at 11 PM for our Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols and on Sunday, December 25th at 10 AM for a time of joyous Christmas Day worship!
Expectantly, Pastor Greg