This month, there have been articles from numerous Christian outlets discussing whether Christians should or should not attend church when Christmas falls on Sunday. Honestly, it’s somewhat baffling that there’s such strong debate over this. While I’m not here to write lesser versions of articles penned by wiser pastors, theologians, and bloggers than I – I will share what my family believes about the issue.

My wife and I will be attending church on Christmas morning. Why?

We Believe That There’s No Better Place To Celebrate the Incarnation.

For the Christian, to truly celebrate “Christmas” is to celebrate the gift of our Redeemer. Our joy is not primarily rooted in the season, the holidays, the parties, or presents to one another – our joy is rooted in a rich, growing understanding of who God is and what He has done on our behalf. In this season, we specifically set aside time to rejoice in the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

The purpose of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. One crucial way that we learn to enjoy Him better is to be saturated with His Word through preaching and hymns. The more we know Him, the more we will desire and enjoy him. If worshipping feels like an inconvenience or a formality, one of two things is true – Either you are in a church that isn’t preaching the pure and beautiful Gospel, or you have never truly known Jesus personally.

To quote Tony Reinke,

“If being Jesus-focused is a killjoy for your Christmas, you don’t know him well.”

We Believe That the Lord’s Day Takes Precedence To A Man-Made Holiday.

Historically, Sunday has been the day that the church gathers in corporate worship, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That weekly corporate gathering of believers is of much more importance than any man-made holiday. (Read more about the historical significance of Sunday as the Lord’s Day here.)

I love Kevin DeYoung’s point in his recent article – A Plea to Pastors: Don’t Cancel Church on Christmas.

“I don’t have a problem with Advent and Christmas. In fact, I love this time of year. I’m not a huge church calendar guy, but I’m not bothered by focusing on the incarnation once every twelve months, especially when the world around us may, by God’s kindness, be tuned in to some of the same spiritual realities at the same time. But I’m enough of a Puritan to think that December 25 is Sunday before it’s Christmas. It’s the Lord’s Day. It’s a resurrection morning. It’s the day on which Christians have gathered for 2,000 years to sing the Bible, preach the Bible, pray the Bible, and see the Bible in the sacraments. It’s the day of the week given for rest and worship. Why would we cancel church on Sunday just because that Sunday is extra-special?”

We Believe That Corporate Worship Is A Tradition Worth Making.

It’s worth considering that the gathering of the Elect in worshipful celebration of the Gospel is not a fad for this world, it is a glimpse of eternity. Long after this life is over, the redeemed will not be sitting around a Christmas tree exchanging presents (no, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that), rather they will be gathered in praise before the King.

If we are to make traditions, let us make one faithfulness to corporate worship, even on a day like Christmas. It’s not a decision which any believer could regret.

There are a number of great articles and podcast episodes from other sources on this topic, here are a few of them:

One thought on “When Christmas Falls On Sunday

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