Will you attend church on Christmas Day next year?

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Next year Christmas (December 25, 2005) falls on a Sunday. Will churches be "open for business" as usual or will churches be closed to allow members to spend time with their families? To their credit the Roman Catholic Church holds multiple Mass on Christmas irrespective of the day it falls. Most Protestant churches do not follow this practice even though the etymology of the word "Christmas" means Christ's Mass. Something to think about as we prepare for the 2004 Christmas Holiday. Merry Christmas to all! QED

-- Anonymous, December 20, 2004


Just think of the lesson we could teach our children....that Jesus is the reason for the season.

I believe we (First Church, Los Angeles) will be open (and for a small "fee", I can reserve two seats for you).

But, wait a minute: What if every House of God had just ONE service that day, but preached from the exact same text? I think we could host everyone (especially the CMErs (Christmas, Mother's Day and Easter)).


-- Anonymous, December 20, 2004

My guess is that we will indeed have a service on 12/25/05. I don't recall what we did the last time Christmas fell on a Sunday but my Pastor, Rev LeRoy Attles, Sr here at St Paul AME in Cambridge has NEVER cancelled a Sunday Service. In Fact; last December we had a 20+ inch snowstorm and we still had service. We do have a Christmas Service each year. Pastor urges parents to allow the kids to open ONE gift and then come on in to church. It is a one-hour service and has been packed each year. Yesterday (12/19) was the third Sunday and our youth choirs ministered to us at the 11am service (Angels w/o Wings 100 4-12 year olds and the Inspirational Choir, the Teens) and Pastor explained that Jesus is the reason for the season. They are aware of it anyway because that is how the Music Ministry teaches them. To God be the Glory! Five of the youth came forward to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Merry Christmas to all God Bless Bro Bob

-- Anonymous, December 20, 2004

Having just celebrated my sixtieth birthday a fortnight ago, I can never recall a time when my church canceled Sunday Morning Worship because it was Christmas Day, not even when we were a circuit church. Neither am I aware of any other churches in Atlanta, which canceled worship because it was the Fourth of July or Christmas Day. I once remember saying to my mother how it seemed like a double Sunday when Sunday happens to also be Christmas Day.

For fifty-six years, the choirs of the Southwest Choral Convention of Atlanta, Georgia, to which my church belongs, have come together for worship every Christmas morning at 6:00 a.m., regardless to what day of the week Christmas comes. The service rotates from church to church of each church, which is a member of it. Each pastor and the ushers of the member churches participates in it and the pastor of the church where it was held the year before delivers the sermon. At this service NO COLLECTION OF MONEY ever occurs. If Christmas falls on Sunday, each of these churches have Sunday School at 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. worship at their respective church as well.

For more than thirty years, since I was a student and Music Major at Morris Brown, I have directed the choir of the Christmas Morning Worship at 6:00 a.m. I even did so during the time I completely lost my hearing and was waiting for surgery and hook-up with a Cochlear Implant For years I have also attended a Midnight Service at Peachtree Christian Church on Christmas Eve.

So if God grants me life, sufficient health and strength, I will attend worship not once but three times next Christmas Day—at midnight and at 6:00 and 11:00 a.m.

By the way, this is off the subject but I think I should say this as well. For many years now we have heard and repeated this phrase, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”. While this is done to counter the commercial influence on Christmas it is, however, not quite theologically accurate.

There is an old, perhaps forgotten song, which says, “Jesus, my Savior to Bethlehem came, seeking for me”. Also in the song, “The King of Love My Shepherd Is”, a paraphrase of Psalm 23, we find these words, “Perverse and foolish oft I strayed and then in love He sought me; and on His shoulder gently laid and home rejoicing brought me." Also in "Born to Die," we find these words, “Born to die, Died only to rise again, Rose that we might live eternally. God sent us his Son, And let him be born to die.”

My point is this. The good news, which we celebrate at Christmas, is that Jesus came for me and He came for you. He gave up all His glory in heaven for you and me. “Jesus, my Savior to Bethlehem came, seeking for me, Oh it is wonderful, how can it be, seeking for me.”

Therefore, as unbelievable and it may appear or sound, the good news of Christmas is, “I AM THE REASON FOR THE SEASON” and so are you.

-- Anonymous, December 20, 2004


In all of my years I have never had a Christmas Sunday service cancelled. In fact, it never occurred to me that a church would cancel a Sunday service on Christmans.

-- Anonymous, December 20, 2004

I'm a relatively new AME (16 years) - I was raised in the Baptist tradition (at the church my Grand Daddy pastored). From his perspective, cancelling church on Christmas would result in the immediate dispatching to Hell of anyone who would entertain such utter nonsense.

-- Anonymous, December 20, 2004

We have never NOT had service when Christmas fell on a Sunday. I'm surprised anyone would consider otherwise.

In past years we used to have a Christmas Day service, but that has given way to a Christmas Eve service. Perhaps we could learn something from our Roman Catholic (separated?) brethren who still (I think) consider this a day of obligation. I usually attend Christmas service at a local AME church that does still have a Christmas Day service.

-- Anonymous, December 20, 2004

Bro Dickens, Please forgive me but I don't quite understand. Were you being facetious when you posed this question?

-- Anonymous, December 21, 2004

I was thinking the same thing E. Thomas, he must be pulling our legs. Of course churches will hold services on Christmas and New Years even though the nightwatch service just got over a few hours ago. Good one Bill Merry Christmas to you too.

-- Anonymous, December 21, 2004

No, I'm not trying to be facetious or posing a rhetorical question. A little background information may help. My question arose out of a conversation I had with a senior officer last Sunday who indicated she was non-committal about attending Church School on this upcoming Sunday because it was "the day after Christmas". I found her response rather odd so I proceeded to query her about what she plans to do next year when Christmas falls on a Sunday. Stunned, puzzled and embarrassed by the frankness of my question she sheepishly sighed and confessed that perhaps for the good of all families involved the unthinkable may be considered as a possibility - Church Closing. As my familiy drove home after the Morning Service my 9 year old son asked me (he was eavesdropping on my chat with the church member) will we have to go to Church School and Morning Service next year on Christmas Day? My response was a firm and sensitive "yes" because he is blessed to receive gifts of love year-round and we should reciprocate (my kids learn SAT words early :-)) to God in like manner.

Based on that church exchange, I simply raised the same question to this Message Board. My question did not suggest or support the idea that churches should be "closed" on December 25, 2005. As Church School Superintendent I emphasize that we provide year-round education a minimum of 52 weeks a year. I agree completely with Parson Harper that next year offers an excellent opportunity to teach our children the true purpose and meaning of Christmas. Robert is correct, Jesus indeed came for me but the true meaning of Nativity is not about or for me but celebration that the much-anticipated arrival of the Incarnate Christ is fulfilled as prophesied in Scripture. Nonetheless, I am not naive. I do expect attendance to be low in a lot of our churches next year. I suspect that there are many folks in your respective parish who thinks very similar to my church member. I'm not surprised to read that everyone on this MB so far has repudiated the idea of churches being closed on Christmas 2005. But, conduct an informal poll yourself and observe the reaction. You may be surprised to learn how some church folks think. QED

-- Anonymous, December 22, 2004

In my community I heard a number of the African American churches reporting very low attendance. To me this is a slap in the face of the God we purport to love. Our gift celebration should NEVER take precedence over our Worship. My goodness have we Christians gone secular on Christmas so much so that we have forgotten the reason for the season?

-- Anonymous, December 26, 2004

At First AME (Los Angeles) we have had Christmas Day and New Year's Day Sunday services, and I honestly don't know of any AMEC that was closed on those Sundays. The most vivid memory that I have of New Year's Sunday is the true story of woman who joined the church during the 8 a.m. service, went home and prepared her dinner, lay down for a nap and died. What if the church had been closed that day??? For those who have to make a decision or choice about where to be on those Sundays, it's not too early to begin to work on the choice.

-- Anonymous, December 27, 2004

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