Cancelling Church for Christmas

Discussion in 'Church Calendar and Pretended Holy Days' started by scottmaciver, Dec 26, 2016.

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  1. scottmaciver

    scottmaciver Puritan Board Sophomore

    I wrote an article Here on the above title. Does anyone have any thoughts on the cancellation of either one or both services yesterday, as Christmas coincided with the Lord's Day? Are any of you aware of this practice in your own area?

  2. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Very common; we were going to have an evening service but the week before it was cancelled as I guess it would have just been me and the pastor; and turns out not even me as I came down with something. I guess once you reject it is the Lord's Day for something like the Lord's hour, when something really important comes up, that hour is negotiable as well.
  3. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior

    There is NOTHING sacred about December 25, and there is everything sacred about the Lord's Day, so it's a no-brainer which commemoration is to have priority. You do not have to be a strict sabbatarian, or a never-Christmaser to see which "holy" day should take precedence.

    Our family get-together was moved from the Lord's Day to today (Monday) amidst some protest from the non-Christian (and some Christian) family members. But we are all here together today looking forward to a good family time without the pressure of trying to fit both celebrations into the same time slot. The complainers have all come around to see that the Monday idea is really a preferred option.

    The little word "thou" Exodus 20:8 --thou, nor thy son, etc.-- in the commandment is what made me realize that this change of day was my responsibility, not my wife's or relatives.

    I was in the doghouse for about a week leading up to this Lord's Day, but all is well now. :)
  4. Beezer

    Beezer Puritan Board Freshman

    There were a couple churches in my area (Central Virginia) I'm aware of that canceled their worship services. Two were non-denominational "seeker" churches, which didn't surprise me; however, one was a PCA church my family used to attend, which saddened me.
  5. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    We had are normal Lord's Day service, and I was pleased to see that we had our normal crowd, plus a few visitors. My family also moved our gift opening to today. Worshipping God should take precedence, even over the high holy day of American consumerism.

    The one pleasant side effect of these days coinciding was that almost everything was closed, as they should be on the Lord's Day.
  6. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Our elders saw it fit to move our normal time later so they could accommodate the early morning recreation that accompanies Dec. 25th. What was interesting that this did not help, in that attendance for our worship service was about 25% of our normal for this time of year. Also what really hurt is that on Dec. 24th we had 2 worship services in the evening, and I suspect many thought it took the place of Sunday morning. Just when I though most of our congregation were former Baptists, it appears most of them are former RC's. Of course this is speculation, but I have been around enough to know what I believe is true.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2016
  7. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    If Christmas is not observed by the congregation the issue doesn't arise. If it is observed the only moral and wise thing is to teach people to hold the festivities on the 24th or 26th so they don't conflict with the purposes of the Lord's Day.

    Sent from my C6903 using Tapatalk
  8. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    We had our usual Lord's day services and were strengthened by the worship and fellowship. I don't recall as many churches cancelling this time around. I guess such a move shows the true level of idolatry that is permitted to exist.
  9. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    It seems to me we (PCA and evangelicalism in general) are now no better than large town congregations 100 years after the Reformation in Scotland. James Durham preached to a portion of Glasgow and pretty much thought a good portion of them were lost and didn't even know the basics. Or if they did know the catchism it was by rote to pass muster at examinations for communion or some other carnal reason. At least they taught the catechism.
  10. Parakaleo

    Parakaleo Puritan Board Sophomore

    We had regular Sabbath school and worship. Attendance was about 80% of normal, but that's because several people were away visiting family. One of our newer member families has an seven-year-old boy who was invited to a friend's house for a party. They actually came for Sabbath school and then left shortly before worship to make it to this get-together (I found out about all this later). They are pretty new to the church, but are members, so it's difficult to know how to address something like that.
  11. Joshua

    Joshua Administrator Staff Member

    I say we cancel Christmas for the church, it being of antichrist and all.
  12. Gforce9

    Gforce9 Puritan Board Junior

    I would hope this wouldn't happen, but am afraid it probably does a lot. If not cancelled, much pomp and little worship......
  13. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    We pretty much are pretty much Episcopaltarian (liturgies, formed prayers, hymns, etc.) with a mix of Baptistarian (grape juice, hymns, announcements and collections during worship), so far practice is concerned, as our elders prescribe to do in our local assembly. I am glad I have not been disciplined yet for not practicing what is not commanded...well not all the way in that my conscience does not allow me to refrain from the juice....yet.

    Thank you RTS Orlando you have us firmly in your grasp. :banghead:
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
  14. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    Interesting thread. This Lord's Day our church's attendance was augmented by probably 25% from family being in town. It was unthinkable for everyone I knew not to come to Church. I can't imagine. There is a Ref21 article on this awful skip-church-for-Christmas phenomenon put in the context of an overall withering Lord's Day observance.
  15. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Hmm so that is where our congregation went. LOL
  16. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    We canceled the 8:00 service for both the 25th and 1st, going with just 9:30 and 11:00. Sunday School was also canceled for both weeks. 9:30 (usually are largest service) attendance looked more like 11; I'll ask next week, but I would expect the 11:00 service to have been up a little. The evening service ran out of steam years ago. There was a 5:00 service on Saturday that was packed with overflow to the chapel, and a full but not packed 10:00pm Saturday service. The 10:00 service featured a strong evangelical sermon from the Old Testament targeting non-believers attending for social reasons.
  17. Joshua

    Joshua Administrator Staff Member

    Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. - Matthew 15
  18. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Christmas happening to fall on a Sunday is an opportunity, and churches ought to take advantage of it. People who don't normally hear the gospel will come to church for a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day service. We should take the opportunity to preach to them.

    Personally, I look forward to my little Sunday school class for kids when it falls on or very near Christmas Day. Some kids will be missing, of course, often because they are out of town. But I also usually get visitors. I meet cousins of the kids I teach, and get to know them, and we all enjoy learning together (usually something about Christ's birth, but it doesn't have to be). There tends to be a good vibe, good energy. For this reason alone, I fail to see why even a church that isn't Sabbatarian would want to cancel services when they fall on Christmas Day.
  19. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    I think it is because the "leadership" of said churches wants to they can have the day off man. Come on! ;)
  20. mgkortus

    mgkortus Puritan Board Freshman

    In addition to the Ref21 article, Kevin DeYoung also posted on this whole matter. He pleaded with churches not to cancel their services.

    We held both of our normal worship services (9:30am and 5:30pm) and both had normal attendance. Im a bit shocked that this would even be a question in a conservative Reformed or Presbyterian church.
  21. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    I think we need to get over thinking of the PCA as either faithfully Presbyterian or increasingly neither particularly conservative. I have an issue with DeYoung's article in that part of his thinking is part of the problem. "Why would we cancel church on Sunday just because that Sunday is extra-special?" The solution is to treat all 52 Lord's Days in the year the same, as commanded; not make up stuff to make some more special which got us in this mess. I guess I've been confused on the Reformed view as I thought the appointing of four or so days a year along the church calendar was defended as catechetical. Yet I see Reformed guys playing up advent and acting like these times are some way special simply because a denomination figured they had the authority to set such aside. Score one for the Presbyterians being right about this leaving the flap of the tent wide open for the camel's nose of will worship to poke in if not perpetually holding his nose in the entry.
  22. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    Most of the churches that I have seen canceling services on Christmas have been fairly large. A big part of why they cancel on this day is that they are putting on such a big production, requiring a hundred or more volunteers each week, that even if just 10% of those volunteers were not there, the show would grind to a halt. It is indeed a sad commentary on modern Christianity when the production becomes more important than God.
  23. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    Sad indeed.

    I doubt he's been quoted with favor on the PB but wasn't it Sinatra who said that any singer who needed more than a mic and a spotlight was a chump.
  24. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    God has seen fit to make Christian worship an activity that does not require a large staff or big production. All you really need is a properly appointed preacher. Many other things may be nice to have when the church gathers, but are not necessities. So indeed, the struggle to round up enough volunteers to keep everything running is a poor excuse.
  25. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    This is just anecdotal evidence on my part but I think the era of the "C and E" Christian is coming, if has not already, to an end.

    There is very little societal pressure to pretend like you go to church as there was even 15 years ago and as the center-town mainline churches continue to die and close up shop so to do the last vestiges of what can even be considered the community churches where you had to be seen every now and then.

    That kind of thing still exists to an extent here in the Deep South, but in speaking to my pastor friends in the SBC churches (which function like the mainline church does in the Midwest/North) they do not see any real appreciate uptick on services around the man-made days.
  26. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    Unless there is some good providential reason for cancelling one or other service (such as extreme weather conditions or not having pulpit supply), then the cancellation of either a morning or evening service on the Lord's Day is a sin on the part of the church oversight. Moderns have redefined the fourth commandment as "Remember the Lord's Hour to keep it holy." Thus, they think it is acceptable for the local church only to worship God once in the day while the rest of the time is afforded to doing whatever we want. I think that Isaiah had something to say about this attitude. What took place yesterday is the epitome of us doing our own pleasures rather than calling the Sabbath a delight. Conversely, Christmas falling on a Sabbath does demonstrate that shops can close one day a week without the world collapsing. If they can close when Christmas (the World's Sabbath) falls on the Lord's Day, why can they not close every week for the Lord's Sabbath.
  27. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    This could make an interesting thread. My church still had huge crowds for two extra services on Christmas Eve. But we are one of a handful of churches in the town's historical district where the first churches were built more than a century ago (literally on the "mainline"), and the only one of those that still fills up weekly. So I suspect this has something to do with the crowds on Christmas and Easter.

    I don't think those "C and E" people are coming due to societal pressure here. I think it's more a desire to do something traditional and sentimental. And when they pick a church to visit, they opt for an established and historical choice that's also one where they feel some connection because, perhaps, a neighbor or a family member regularly attends. That makes us a popular pick. We always preach the need to believe in Christ, which one would think might drive those people away, but they still keep coming back every year.
  28. Toasty

    Toasty Puritan Board Sophomore

    I noticed that some churches cancel the evening service, but not the morning service.

    Just out of curiosity, do some churches cancel the evening services if the Lord's Day is on New Year's Day?
  29. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    Our church is usually unpleasantly packed on Easter Sunday. I just noticed that I'm scheduled to usher this year.
  30. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    My thoughts exactly. My step-father used to call such attenders the "Birth and Resurrection fellowship." The more liturgical churches, especially Catholicism, still get that bump more than others but overall it is in rapid decline.
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