In this new chapter of life and ministry, investing significant time in encouraging and empowering preachers of the Word, I am asked questions related to the full scope of kingdom work. So I thought I would start this new “column” in which to share some of my own thinking about how we are to go about participating with the Living God in mission at this very challenging time in history. I trust what I offer here will be of help and unto the glory of the name of Jesus in Whom we live and move and having our being.
Worship on Christmas Day 2016.
As you likely know, Christmas Day this year, 2016, falls on a Sunday, on a Lord’s Day. As you also likely know, a number of congregations are tempted to not hold worship that day. The reasons vary, but are along the lines of: worship that day will interrupt family time; people will be too wiped out from all the activities of the season; human resources will be taxed because of Christmas Eve service responsibilities; and other such concerns.
I want to appeal to congregations not to give into the temptation for three big reasons:
I think that the Lord’s Day trumps any other day, including Christmas Day. We are the people of the Risen Saviour. The first day of the week is His day, the day we once again, regardless of the season, celebrate His victory over the forces that threaten to undo us, and when we once again remember that He has brought us into a new creation. I can think of no reason to ever not worship on His Day!
What a perfect time to worship when the Day we celebrate the Saviour’s birth falls on His Day! The challenge for preachers will not be, “oh, what can I say that day?” but, “oh, goodness, how do I pair it down to 20-30 minutes when there is so much to say?”
For many people, Christmas Day is one of the loneliest days of the years. Many people, for whatever reason, do not have family around them. It is, therefore, the day they need the Family of God around them.
Even if the attendance is lower than other Sundays, for the above reasons I advocate that we need to gather together.
Now, if you, a preacher, are just too tired to prepare a sermon for that day, I will gladly prepare one for you! You could either: (a) take my sermon and re-work it in your own voice; or (b) say to your people, “A friend of mine is helping me today, and I am preaching a sermon he has prepared for us for this special day.” Just let me know and I will arrange for you to receive it or, even, a number of options!
So, Merry Christmas ahead of time! Worship Immanuel on His Day in 2016.
What do you think about what I am thinking?