No Service Sunday?

It is interesting to note a growing number of churches deciding to take the Sunday after Christmas off from gathering together to worship God. It is strange because I thought the point of worship was to take time away from the busyness of life to worship God and anchor ourselves in His promises through Jesus Christ.

I am really not trying to be critical here. I get it. Christmas is so busy with a multitude of activities surrounding the holiday. In addition to our normal worship patterns, we add services for Christmas Eve, have choir concerts, Christmas plays and so much more. All of this added church activity is in the context of an increasing number of family, office, neighborhood, school and community happenings during this special season.

In trying to make an educated guess as to why things are trending where churches take off the Sunday after Christmas, I would have to say there maybe a wrong understanding of what it means to worship God. If a church’s worship primarily focuses on producing a product (the worship service) for people to consume, then there may not enough production value to warrant the energy in preparing for a service the Sunday after Christmas.

It is not uncommon for the Sunday worship service following Christmas to have an epic drop in attendance. The reason is many people are traveling and/or tired of the consumptive nature of the holidays. Perhaps there is an innate sense of being expended beyond capacity both for the producer and consumer.

This should not be so if worship is about both loving and being loved by God and each other through participation in praise, prayer and the ordinary means of grace of preaching and the Lord’s Table. Love is without limits. We need our daily bread. God’s table is waiting. Our brothers and sisters may need us to be present for encouragement. We need to feast on Christ and His promises. It doesn’t matter if the production crew needs a break. By all means take one. But for one Sunday we can turn off all the production and tech, can’t we? Isn’t it enough to read the Scripture, eat from the Table, pray and be with each other while marveling at the grace of God in Immanuel?

15 Comments

  1. Rick Patterson on December 28, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    More and more, we Christians are becoming more and more justifying of the World’s viewpoints. What is the reasons? It is not a gradual change. I believe for years, we have just been doing things out of habit, not understanding. Is it a lack of true conversion? Or is it acceptance that God doesn’t require much from us?

  2. Cindy McInnis on December 28, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    Gather together Thank God for what we are given. His Son. Our Blessings. The love of all. Comfort from a world that is unstable.

  3. Melinda Merriott on December 28, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    I agree. Never understood why.. and also when Christmas falls on Sunday, taking that Sunday morning “off”.. Christ is always on with us….

  4. Debbie Taylor on December 28, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    Love and miss y’all. Hope to visit Your Church when We get back from Ky .

  5. Connie Twynham on December 28, 2019 at 6:08 pm

    Jeff, Merry Christmas to you, Gwen and family! I was very surprised to see this phenomena of no service in many churches in the Greater Atlanta area tomorrow. I had never witnessed that before. I agree with your sentiments my friend. God bless you and your new church in Canton. Happy New Year from Andy and I.

  6. John M on December 28, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    Amen Jeff. I agree. The worship service is about worshiping God and not what we get out of it. I believe many of the churches in the west have become production oriented and many church goers are seeking production value.

  7. Jim Zember on December 29, 2019 at 3:00 am

    Jeff
    Thank you for your comments on this practice. We recently visited a local church after being invited by some nearby neighbors. The thing that sparked the visit is there are four couples from Soleil who have started a small group. Imagine our surprise when we visited for the first time and they said, Oh by the way we will be celebrating or taking a Sabbath Sunday to provide a celebration of the staff and worship team and volunteers. I always thought Sunday was the Sabbath for Christians though I know the original Sabbath was Saturday. I cannot help but think that this is a violation of one the ten commandments to keep the Sabbath Holy. Yes, I am certain this gets confusing because the the Saturday/Sunday transition. To me this seem another day that is to be set aside for God and to honor God and to be kept holy that is now being set aside to honor men and women who serve God. To me it seems in direction conflict with the commandment to Keep the Sabbath Holy. Then again I guess the justification is that we as a culture are not so focused on keeping the Sabbath Holy…most of us take vacations that include taking Sunday off from Church or for shopping or these days going to our children’s activities/sports that have taken over Sunday’s. I have certainly been guilty of that many times in misusing Sunday’s in my life. How about Sports…Sunday is a huge day for worshiping sports and our “heroes” therein. So we get into which log in our eyes do we address first? Calling a day off for Church Staff and worship supporters still seems wrong in my mind. It is just another example of Modern thinking taking the “Everybody does it” road to be another notch in Satan’s belt. I am conflicted at the very least! At my age it is becoming more and more difficult to deal with modern thinking on almost everything from gay marriage to this. For me it is not a simple yes or no for many things. The battles become mine in a spiritual struggle between love, forgiveness and anger (over simplification). I think about all these things and thrown in with trusting the Lord creates great conflict. So when a church casually throws out one of the ten commandments as though it was “just a guideline” anyway, I take it as a personal attack on God. Still it causes me great stress. My Sunday safety net is gone! I thought my retirement was going to be filled with joy but what if find is stress at an every growing rate. Thanks for a little ray of light and hope!

  8. Beverly Hyde McCulloch on December 29, 2019 at 8:19 am

    Christmas is worshipping the birth of Jesus. Second or maybe even third, is the busyness is preparing for Santa.
    At my age, I’m done with busy. I spent most of my time praying, thinking and thanking Our God for his gift to us. My husband and I enjoyed the quiet of our holiday. I actually feel rejuvenated instead of exhausted. All praise and Glory go to the Lord. Well said Jeff

  9. Judi Falkowski Berg on December 29, 2019 at 10:46 am

    Beautifully said.

  10. Carol Hutchinson on December 29, 2019 at 11:30 am

    Hi Jeff,
    Our little church here in Anniston, First Christian Church, solves this problem by planning a contemplative prayers and carols service the Sunday after Christmas. It is lead by the elders and deacons of the church, and is a very nice quiet service. We have low attendance that day also, but those who participate, really like this service.

  11. Brian on December 29, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    I know that at least for me it is quite easy to get so involved in serving God’s people that a church service can become a life-sucking process. If I don’t catch myself it slowly becomes all about the work and the people. This is not at all how God intended it. Like you said (in different words), we shouldn’t want a day off from God, so if we want a day off from church there is an issue. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Melody Boggs on December 29, 2019 at 1:52 pm

    So good Jeff! I agree wholeheartedly!

  13. Susan on December 30, 2019 at 5:01 am

    Thank you

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