Continuing on the worship theme, I heard a pastor recently share some of his less than pleasant Christmas experiences and how the focus of the season should be the Incarnate Christ. I daresay that few if any true evangelicals would dispute that; none would dare at least publicly to express the idea that someone or something should have a higher priority than the Savior of the world. So it would seem only logical that those same evangelicals would make sure the church doors are wide open on Sunday, especially since it’s Christmas. I mean, if Christ is the focus what better place is there than the sanctuary to spend at least part of the day? And yet the megachurches and a few smaller ones have locked the sanctuary in order that parishioners can spend more quality time with family and worship in the privacy of their own homes.
But getting back to Christ as the focus, if that’s really true then perhaps it would be a good idea to check and see if He has an opinion on what those He redeemed do on one day a week. I seem to remember that in Mark 2 Jesus claimed to be Lord of the sabbath. Nowhere in that whole discussion did He state that on His watch the sabbath was a non-issue. Rather He said that God had instituted it especially for the benefit of mankind. So I guess He has an opinion about there being a significance to one day a week.
Then there’s the whole thing of whether we need to meet together (ekklesia = assembly) and what we should do when (or if) we do meet together. If the New Testament descriptions of Lord’s Day meetings mean anything, they show us by example that their meetings consisted of doing certain things – singing, praying, reading Scripture, preaching, Communion – and maybe our meetings ought to do the same.
If your opinion is that everything we do is an act of worship, that when the church meets together it is for fellowship and edification, that anything that is not forbidden in Scripture is OK to do during worship, that there are nine commandments and one suggestion, then I guess it would be acceptable to forget about public corporate worship on the Lord’s Day (or Christian sabbath) when it conflicts with Christmas. Especially when that’s the day we keep the focus on Christ by skipping church and focusing on family.
Or we could make it our top priority to determine what the Babe in the manger who is also the King of the universe expects from His subjects and then do it. Even if it means going against the trend and saying Merry Christmas on our way to Sunday worship on the 25th.
By His Grace,