was a number one jam. <–name the song that this lyric came out of and I will give you a christmas gift – on the real.
I was driving around as an official graduate yesterday and I began thinking about christmas in the church. This time of year is funny and awkward to me because I think christmas has become bothersome to churches. We plan and we organize and we plan and we organize but we never really get to enjoy the season. The past 4-5 years, I have been taught that christmas is programmed. ”The building needs to look nice, we need people to dress nice, should we have five services or add a sixth?, what about a shuttle bus so that people can park in other spots so first timers can park there, and for heavens sake, make sure EVERYTHING IS PERFECT.” Maybe it is because now I work in a more relaxed and intimate church, but I don’t think that these things are as im portant. I know that we want to give our best, and we all do, but when your focus is the comfort of people over the birth of Jesus, then I think we have missed the point of the Christmas service.
As I was driving, I began wondering if we lost christmas when we began giving it to people ahead of time. What I mean is, why do we play christmas songs for worship when they don’t fit what you are doing for a sermon? If you are doing a sermon series on “your best life now” but playing “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” simply because it is the first sunday of december, then I think we have let the cat out of the bag. I wonder if we were to practice and observe the advent season through sermon, music, and worship if the anticipation would grow and instead of blowing our load in the first couple of weeks?
From what I have observed of the churches that stress through the holidays, usually the only mention of christmas throughout december is the christmas eve service. But what about the build up? What about the anticipation? The congregation gets none, because they are too busy trying to figure out how to live their life during the holidays rather than how Jesus got here in the first place. Maybe instead of “Jesus is the reason for the season” we should change it to “The christmas eve service is the reason for the season”.
This year is Roosevelt Community Churches first christmas as a church. We began observing advent for the last three weeks, and I can honestly tell you that this is the first year that I am excited for christmas while working in a church. I lament and pray for churches that have lost or are losing the love for Christmas. I pray that they will be able to recapture the birth of christ and bring their congregation along for the journey rather than vomiting the whole shebang on them December 24th.
Merry Christmas. Take time to step back and enjoy your family, your life, and your time and find time to relax. Breathe during the holiday madness.