What My Church is Doing Since Christmas Day is a Sunday


Sam Rainer

December 12, 2016


Christmas Day is on a Sunday this year. We knew it was coming. It will happen again in 2022. Additionally, any time Christmas Day falls on a Sunday, New Year’s Day is also a Sunday. The good thing about the calendar is it doesn’t change without an act of God. We have time to plan.

My church will gather on Christmas Day. We enjoy worshiping together! Will fewer people show than on a typical Sunday? Probably. But many in our congregation want to be there. Kevin DeYoung provided an excellent explanation for why churches should gather on Christmas Day. I encourage you to read his post. I’ll focus more on what we’re doing.

  1. We are less volunteer intensive. We have four services in two languages. We also have full programming for all ages in two different hour-long timeslots. In short, Sundays require a lot of people resources. We wanted everyone to worship together on Christmas, so we are canceling (I hate that word, so how about “taking a break from”) Life Groups and several other ministries that occur on Sunday mornings.
  1. We are connecting our worship services. Our English-speaking services meet at 8am, 9:30am, and 11am. We’re combining them into one 10am service. Our Spanish-speaking service will meet at the usual time of 10:30am. Our campus is too small and parking spots too few to handle our typical Sunday crowd all at once. On Christmas Day, we’re hoping everyone can cram into one service. It’s not often we get to worship with each other. This year is the perfect opportunity to bring everyone together.
  1. We are uniting all generations. Our three English-speaking services are in three different styles (traditional, contemporary, and blended). Christmas Day is a good time to unite everyone intentionally. The service will be in a classic style, but we’ll also have some fun elements for the children, including gifts and a children’s sermon (which we don’t typically do). Our goal is for the service to be something that all generations will enjoy.
  1. We are celebrating Christ’s birth with a new birth. Most importantly, we will baptize a new believer in this Christmas Day service. She is my daughter. Had we decided to cancel this service, then the opportunity to baptize her on Christmas Day would not exist. I’m glad we’re gathering, if for this reason alone.

I understand why some churches are not gathering corporately on Christmas Day. When we did our calendaring for 2016, we knew something would change in worship on December 25th. Our approach was to look at Christmas Day as an opportunity rather than a hurdle. So we settled on the plan above. If you are gathering together on Christmas Day, share what your church is doing in the comments.


11 comments on “What My Church is Doing Since Christmas Day is a Sunday”

  1. Jeannie Sladko says:

    I respect our church for continued service on Christmas Day and New Year’s. I am out of state or I would definitely be there. I love the fact that your daughter is getting baptized on that day. She will be a special blessing to God. I wish all my church family a Blessed and merry Christmas and I will see you in a couple of weeks.

    1. Sam Rainer says:

      Merry Christmas to you too!

  2. Jeff Holton says:

    First Pres Bradenton is meeting Christmas day and we are excited. It was never a question as to whether we would cancel or not. We are combining services as well and I am sure we will have a smaller number than usual, since we will have a Christmas Eve service as well. However I love worshiping on Christmas Day, it is not an inconvenience, it’s an honor to gather with fellow believers on the day that we observe our Lord’s birth.

    Congratulations on the baptism of your daughter as well.

    Have a blessed AND Merry Christmas!

  3. We worshipped in a combined service at our church when this happened five years ago but we are taking a slightly different approach this year. We have created an 8 minute video that includes humor and serious moments from our staff along with the reading of the Christmas story and are providing a link and/or dvd to every person in our church on Christmas Eve and encouraging them to worship together as a family in their home before they do enjoy their other traditions like opening up gifts and sharing of meals. Our objective is that in a certain way all of our families can incorporate worship into their Christmas morning tradition this year.

  4. Danna Herndon says:

    Our Church (West Jackson Baptist Church) normally has two worship services on Sunday mornings. On Christmas Day we are having a combined worship service at 10:30 am. We know that many members will be out of town, but we will also have many family members coming back to town to visit.

  5. jill asher says:

    Hello Sam and Merry Christmas to you, Erin and the kids. FBC Murray will be having a combined service at 11:00 on Sunday morning. We will be having our traditional Christmas Eve service as well – it always has a strong presence by our community for which we are thankful. Thank you for sharing what y’all are doing. And—I’m so excited for my new sister in Christ! Give Maggie a big hug for me

    1. Sam Rainer says:

      Thank you, Jill! I will do that.

  6. There was never a question of will we “not” meet corporately for worship on Christmas. The change that was decided on was to combine our small groups with corporate worship to allow parents with children a little more time with the kids. I’m excited at the opportunity to worship with my church family on Christ’s birthday.

  7. Mike Hickman says:

    FBC Dyersburg,TN is also meeting on Christmas Day, combining our worship services into one service at 10am. Our Life Groups will not be meeting. All of our pastoral staff has committed to serve Christmas Day and also for our Christmas Eve service. The last time Christmas was on a Sunday we had a packed house with lots of families in attendance and are praying and planning for the same response this year!

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