"Why does church have to ruin Christmas" was the honest question from the 6yr old son of a music minster, who was/is a very good friend of mine. You see that year Christmas was on Sunday and this little boy's family went to church to worship and put off opening presents until after church. Wait, it gets better. This honest young man made his rhetorical statement from the front row of the church (where he was made to sit because his dad was on the church staff), during the pastor's message, loud enough for everyone in church to hear him! AWKWARD! I confess, it was hilarious.
Ok, so this year Christmas is also on Sunday so how should the Christ-follower handle the dilemma of a traditional Christmas (opening presents Christmas morning) vs. worshipping God in the community of faith. Hmmmmmm?
So I'm a huge traditionalist when it comes to Christmas. Just ask my family. There's no opening presents on Christmas Eve! That's for Christmas liberals, and those too weak to wait until Christmas morning to celebrate the Birth of Jesus! Feel the grace? Not much right? I know.
So, what to do this year. Will Church ruin Christmas for all the young (and old) boys and girls who have been anticipating the brightly wrapped treasures under the tree? And how about all those cherished family gatherings around the table for a traditional Christmas dinner, will that have to be set aside too? Well, that's a question for each family to answer. But, here's what the Austin family is doing. And I have to tell you its not easy for this traditionalist Christmas snob to change. But, yep I'm changing. This year our family (who only gather's for Christmas every-other year, so this is a big deal) will celebrate the Birth of Christ as a family on, wait for it - Christmas Eve! Yep, on Saturday we'll get up early and have our traditional Christmas breakfast, then read the Christmas story out of the Bible and then open presents followed by our traditional Christmas dinner in the afternoon. All on Christmas eve. And we'll go to the beautiful candlelight Christmas Eve service to celebrate communion. Then we'll get up Sunday morning and go to worship the One who gave up his routine with his family in heaven so that I/we could celebrate new life in Christ with our families here on earth.
So, if you're struggling with how to "do" Christmas this year consider doing your celebrating on Saturday. If this ultra traditional Christ snob can do it you can to. Don't let your routine rob you of the beauty of celebrating the birth of Christ though corporate worship.