Over the last few weeks, I’ve had a handful of conversations and heard a number of my friends express sentiments that reveal an ironic situation, namely, that many Christians are finding it more difficult than ever to remain focused on Christ during the Christmas season. Amid frantic last-minute shopping trips, home decorations, meal preparations, family gatherings, and holiday parties, the Christ can become almost entirely eclipsed by all of our Christmas activity. I’ve lost count of the number of times this year alone, that I have heard other Christians express their desire to remain focused on Christ this Christmas. This is obviously a good desire, but how do we do it? In this brief post I want to suggest one simple way to help keep yourself and your family (if you have one) focused on Christ this Christmas: Attend your local church’s Christmas Eve worship service.
At a Christ-centered Christmas Eve worship service, you will likely hear the Scriptures read in public, sing songs that celebrate the first and second comings of Christ, have your heart stirred and encouraged through the ministry of music, and hear the Gospel proclaimed in a simple and straightforward way. You may even, as will be the experience at our church’s Christmas Eve service;have the privilege of eating and drinking in remembrance of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper with fellow sinners saved by the same righteous blood as has saved you. What a gift that is to a soul that has been fighting distractions from Christ for the better part of the last month! I can’t think of a better way to re-focus and re-calibrate the heart upon Christ this Christmas day than to worship him with his people under his Word the day before.
I suppose I am offering this encouragement, at least in part in response to what seems to me to be a growing disinterest among Christians to the Christmas Eve service. If it’s not at just the right time of day or night, and isn’t just the right length of time, and isn’t in just the right location, and if it doesn’t fall right in line with our meal plans for the evening, many of us have very little problem scratching the Christmas Eve service right off of our plans for December 24.
Why is that? We want to keep Christ in Christmas, right? We want to help our kids see that the reason for the season is Jesus, and not the pile of gifts that are sitting under our trees, right? We want to celebrate Christ and not just our stuff, right? Then why not take the time to worship Christ with his people the day before we officially celebrate his birth? Assuming we are serious about staying focused on Christ for Christmas; wouldn’t it be worth it to do so?
Of course, I am also assuming that your church is having a worship service of some kind on Christmas Eve. If it is not, that’s not a problem; just find another Bible-believing and Christ-proclaiming local church to worship with that day. Surely there is one such church within an hour of your home. Simply find one and worship Christ with them on Christmas Eve.
I only intend this post as something to consider. It is not intended as a guilt trip, or as a word from the Lord, or as an extra law that should be added to the Scriptures. It is none of those things, but rather, is a suggestion for you to chew on, in the event that you are thinking about staying home next Monday, instead of going to church. Insofar as you have the opportunity, I encourage you to consider keeping the Christmas Eve service in your Christmas celebration.