Why We're Gathering Christmas Day (and why should join us!)


According to a recent New York Times article, fewer churches than ever before are meeting this coming Sunday, in comparison to 2016, the last time Christmas fell on a Sunday. Among those still planning to meet, most expect record low turnout. 

While there are times when canceling church or staying home is prudent and appropriate (such as during times of sickness or during a natural disaster), Christmas Day is not one of those times.

As a church, we are eagerly planning to gather this Sunday. Here are three reasons why: 


1. It’s Christmas. 

The Christmas stories in both Luke and Matthew are punctuated by groups of shepherds, angels, and magi coming to worship the newborn king. It would be odd for followers of the risen Christ to do less than Luke's lowly shepherds or Matthew's pagan magi.

If Christmas is ultimately about celebrating Jesus, then gathering with other Christians to celebrate Jesus' birth should be an utmost priority. Many who roasted Walmart greeters for saying "Happy Holidays" instead of “Merry Christmas” will stay home this Sunday. Family, not Jesus, it turns out, is the reason for the season. To be clear, family is a wonderful but not ultimate gift. 

It seems to me that if "Jesus is the Reason for the Season," then worship should be the priority of His people. 

2. It’s Sunday. 

Since the earliest days of the early church, Christians have gathered on Sunday, known as the "Lord's Day," to worship Jesus, encourage each other, and hear God's Word. 

Because the resurrection of Jesus took place on the first day of the week, every Sunday is our celebration of the new creation, our commemoration of the new covenant, and our reminder that we are His new people.   

Although it is true that Christian piety is about far more than showing up to church one day out of seven, it's not about less than that. 
While our practices of opening presents and hanging out with family are wonderful traditions worth preserving, gathered worship is a biblical command. Cancelling the biblically commanded event (corporate worship) on the biblically patterned day (Sunday) to accommodate a cultural event (Christmas) suggests priorities that are, perhaps, out of sync. By all means, enjoy family this Christmas, but not at the expense of honoring Christ with His people.


3. We're His Church. 

Some argue that gathering with believers is non-essential because "the church is not the building, but the people," and thus, it matters little whether those people are all in the same place at the same time. 

While it is obviously true that church isn't the building but the people, church does involve those people physically gathering together in one place on a regular basis.  After all, the very word “church” (ekklesia)
 means “gathering” or “assembly.” To have a non-gathering gathering and a non-assembling assembly is nonsensical. We get no hint in Scripture that Hebrews 10:24 is suspended when the calendar gets too crowded or the house too full. 

We understand implicitly that our joy in worship is multiplied when we worship with other people who delight in the same object. Family gatherings, while wonderful blessings, cannot replace the joy-multiplying, Christ-magnifying glory of corporate worship with God’s people. 

Because this Sunday is Sunday, and because this Sunday is Christmas, we are going to be gathering to worship Christ. I’ll be there, and I’d encourage you to be there, too! 


  1. After all Christ has given me, how could I not give Him my attention on the day set aside as His birthday! I for one will gladly join you in worship and adoration of Jesus the Christ! Savior of all who believe!!


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