Should Churches Cancel Christmas?

Every few years, Christmas falls on a Sunday. This puts churches in a somewhat awkward place. It’s awkward particularly for those who have Christmas Eve services. Thus, many have decided to cancel Christmas morning services.

This year at New Vintage Church, we will celebrate Christ’s birth on both Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. Whenever December 25th falls on a Sunday, this also means New Year’s Day is also a Sunday. Some churches have made the decision to double-down on Christmas Eve services and not hold services on Christmas Day.

We never really seriously considered canceling either service. The services will be different. Christmas Eve will be more contemplative, in the “high church” mold. Christmas morning will be a little more contemporary–like our typical services.

Here’s why we’re doing it the way we’re doing it:

  • We are huge fans of Christmas Eve services. We love worshiping Jesus. It’s a HUGE open door to the community and keeps Christians focused on Christ’s birth through a commercial season.
  • I’m also a huge fan of teaching our kids that worshiping Jesus trumps presents…every day, and especially Christmas.
  • There’s something about moving/canceling worship so people can “spend more time with family” that seems wrong.
Having said that, I’m not sure churches that are choosing differently (except those doing neither Christmas Eve or Christmas morning) are spurning the birth of Christ. I know some of the leaders of churches doing it differently than we are–and their commitment to Christ is not in question. They are simply being pragmatic. They would say they aren’t canceling worship, they are just moving the time slot to be thoughtful–and because they wonder if anyone will show up on Christmas morning.

Question: Do you think it matters whether a church cancels Sunday services if they have a Saturday evening Christmas Eve service? Why? P.S. Let’s be respectful in our comments 🙂

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Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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