Calendaring is in full swing for the holiday season as families across the globe strive to find a time for all the family to come together. Presents are being wrapped and meals are being planned, Christmas pajamas are being purchased and travel plans are being secured, all with the anticipation of Christmas Day in mind. After all, it is the most wonderful time of the year.
However, this year, many have already expressed a slight planning dilemma—Christmas is on a Sunday.
The questions have begun. How are we going to fulfill our family Christmas traditions if we have to be at church for Sunday School? How early do we need to get up to make sure the kids have time to open and enjoy their presents before church? Can we just skip this Sunday? I mean, this is one of the only times we all get to be together! Other family members weigh in about our alleged "rigidity" and kindly remind us that God knows how important family is, so it’s okay if we miss church just this once—He won’t hold it against us.
While we as Christians know that our coming to church on any given Sunday does not secure our salvation or make us more right before God, we do know that the meeting of the saints is vital to their sanctification and joy. It is through the hearing of the preached Word of God that our hardened, sinful hearts are softened, convicted and turned to the cross of Christ week in and week out.
Though gift-giving is special and can be done in a godly way, why would we want to miss this glorious time with our church family feasting on the joy of heaven in order to simply open earthly treasures? Instead, we should bring our family members along with us to hear of the best and most precious gift ever given—Jesus, the very son of God Almighty.
Although a short Google search can yield numerous Christmas devotions and resources, these need not take the place of our congregational meeting on Christmas Day. Some may scream from the hilltops, commanding that Jesus will delight in our personal, family devotion on Christmas morning, away from our church family; but I plead with you, Christian, do not buy into the cultural convenience of a study in your home in place of church. In the words of Mark Dever, “Our relationship with Jesus is personal but not private.” It’s not meant to be confined to our family and our home but shared with our Christian brothers and sisters each time we meet together.
So, Christians, we have a special opportunity this year to point our family and friends to the Gospel of Jesus Christ by not neglecting to meet together with the saints on Christmas Day. If we desire for the world to stop taking Christ out of Christmas, then we need not do the same through our actions on Christmas Day.