Come, Let Us Adore … Family? Churches Closing Their Doors on Christmas Day to Be With Family by J. Roys
Yes. I’ve been noting on this blog for the last few years that Christians have turned the Nuclear Family into idols, and this comes at the expense of divorced, widowed, childless, childfree, and never married adults.
(Link): Come, Let Us Adore … Family? Churches Closing Their Doors on Christmas Day by J. Roys
Christmas this year falls on a Sunday, which has some churchgoers in a tizzy.
…Religion writer Amy Sullivan once suggested that the reason American Christians don’t normally go to church on Christmas is because we’ve adopted a civil religion that elevates the ideal of family “to a sacrosanct level.” The Norman Rockwell image of a family gathered around a tree, she argues, has become a Christmas icon that rivals baby Jesus.
“For most Christians,” she said, “Christmas is a day for family, not faith.”
I think Sullivan has a point. Recently, I was listening to a Christmas album by the a cappella group Pentatonix, which I absolutely love. But the lyrics to their song “That’s Christmas to Me” pierced my heart. The song is beautiful and nostalgic — and completely godless.
After talking about Santa and stockings and mistletoe, they croon, “The only gift I’ll ever need is the joy of family. Oh why? ‘Cause that’s Christmas to me.”
I love my family dearly. But Christmas is about the birth of my savior without whom I’d have no hope for the future. And to me, there’s no better way to celebrate Christmas than to join with my church family, as well as my natural family, to worship our savior.
But again, many Christians attend services on Christmas Eve. So, what’s wrong with foregoing church on Christmas Day? However, Sullivan notes that many Anglican and Catholic Churches similarly hold midnight masses or vigils the night before Easter. (My church does that, and it’s a highlight of my year.) But everyone still shows up the next morning for Easter services. No devout Christian would ever consider missing church on Easter! So why do we not have the same attitude toward Christmas?
As Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay, notes, “If Christmas falls on Monday through Saturday, churches might be closed on December 25 — but almost never on a Sunday.”
Still I wonder, how many will attend church on Christmas Day joyfully as opposed to dutifully? And how many church members will actually show up? Many churches, which normally hold multiple services on Sunday morning, are only holding one service on Christmas day.
…That’s my hope too. I fear we have replaced adoring God with adoring family on Christmas. And as much as I love family, and see it as an incredible gift from God, I love Jesus even more.
(Link): The Neglected God Calls Us to Reach Out to the Neglected at Christmas: God with Us and Them—Immanuel (Re: People Who Are Alone At the Holidays)
(Link): Merry Christmas to Single People
(Link): Church Is a Family, Not an Event by K. Kandiah
(Link): Please Shut Up About Family and Christmas – by Laura (some people are alone at the holidays; they are not married, have no kids)
(Link): Churches Ignoring The Olds: Increasing Population of Senior Citizens In America – Yet Churches Keep Obsessing About Kids and 20 Somethings
(Link): “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” – one of the most excellent Christian rebuttals I have seen against the Christian idolatry of marriage and natalism, and in support of adult singleness and celibacy – from CBE’s site
(Link): Post by Sarah Bessey Re: Churches Ignore Never Married Older and/or Childless Christian Women, Discriminate Against Them
(Link): If the Family Is Central, Christ Isn’t
(Link): Neither Fully Widow Nor Fully Wife – Married People Will Be Single Again (Married people who have spouses with dementia)