Churches celebrate Christmas by canceling services

Note: This is something I wrote last year, when Christmas day fell on Saturday, but neverĀ  posted. I’ve no doubt that the same will be true for this year, if not more so. You can read the article to which I refer here.

It used to be that churches only canceled their worship services if Christmas day fell on a Sunday. But now they’ve gone a step further – canceling church if Christmas falls on a Saturday. An interesting turn of events this is.

[Bill] Willits told The Christian Post that the church requires at least 2,000 volunteers every week to pull off one of the Sunday morning services.

Hundreds of those volunteers include high school students who help with the middle school worship environments before going to their own service time.

He said the church has always taken the Sunday after Christmas off, a move that has been widely applauded.

Two thousand volunteers? Worship environments? Their own service time? Spurgeon used to preach to 6,000 people every Sunday morning and evening at the old Metropolitan Tabernacle and all he had was a couple dozen elders and deacons. But then again, I’ll wager that none of the pastors canceling their services are anything like Charles Spurgeon.

Pastor Perry Noble of New Spring Church in Anderson, S.C., also cited recovery time for volunteers as the reason for canceling communal worship time on Sunday.

Church workers will put on 17 Christmas services across four different campuses, drawing over 20,000 in attendance.

Well, here we have it. They’ve been busy. But busy doing what? Putting on Christmas services. You “put on” a show, not a worship service.

And herein lies the problem. Many church services have become nothing more than entertainment. Disheveled youths strumming on their guitars and banging on their bongos provide the musical entertainment and some sort of Wayne Dyer wannabe comes out to try to make sense out of the bewilderment all the hurting people are going through. And during the Christmas season, you get the added bonus of scores of people wearing bathrobes and staring blankly at a baby doll. If the show is really top notch, there will be angels swinging from the rafters, too. Yes, I’d be tired too if I had been a part of this show.

But is this really what the Bible speaks of? Do we really honor the lowly Baby in the manger with all these gaudy shows? I think not.

The old puritans thought that we honored and worshiped Jesus Christ best when we treated every Sunday as the Lord’s Day. The preaching of the gospel contained in the Scriptures was the high point of every week. And they never tired of doing it. They laid the foundation for the Methodist revivals of the next century. John Wesley and George Whitefield traveled all over the place preaching many times a day, many days a week, and never tiring nor stopping until they died. All that was needed for both Puritans and Methodists was a Bible and a voice and the Holy Spirit.

Life in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries was anything but easy. Yet, you never read of any churches shutting down because people were tired. No one ever canceled a service “to be with their families.”

And they had Revival.

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