Shouldn’t we go to church on Christmas Day?

Christmas falls on Sunday this year for the first time since 2005.

Given that most of us will attend services on Christmas Eve — the most popular day of the year in the pews — do we really need to go again the following day?

The answer seems to be most definitely maybe.

Six years ago, some of the nation’s largest churches were criticized for canceling Christmas Day services. Many of those same churches canceled Dec. 26 services last year.

Here at the YDR religion desk, we have so far received one notice of postponed Christmas morning services — from Hopewell Presbyterian Church in Felton. The church will hold services at 6 p.m. Dec. 25.

We’re bound to get more cancellations, but nationally, church pastors are seemingly opting for the conservative route. According to a Lifeway Research survey, 91 percent of pastors plan to hold holiday services.

Is your family planning to attend both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services? If not, which one are you skipping?

Continuing on the survey theme, another Lifeway poll found that while three-quarters of Americans saw Christmas as primarily a religious holiday, two-thirds also acknowledged much of what they enjoyed about Christmas had “nothing to do with the birth of Jesus Christ.”

Given that Christmas marks the birth of Jesus Christ, this is disconcerting for many. How much of your holiday is spent recognizing and celebrating the religious aspect of Christmas?

About John Hilton

I grew up in Susquehanna County, Pa. and graduated Syracuse University with a dual degree in journalism/political science in 1998. After working for nearly three years for a weekly paper in upstate New York, I came to southcentral Pennsylvania. I spent 13 years as a reporter and editor for The Sentinel in Carlisle and joined the York Daily Record as religion reporter in September 2011.
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One Response to Shouldn’t we go to church on Christmas Day?

  1. Bruce Thiel says:

    I plan to attend Christmas Day service. I have to work on Christmas Eve in York, then I’ll drive to my hometown of Johnstown.

    I won’t make it there on time for Christmas Eve service. But, even if I did, I would still attend church on Christmas Day.

    I started attending the Episcopal Church some years back, and many Episcopal churches, like Roman Catholic and the other liturgical churches, have a Christmas Day service no matter what day of the week the holiday occurs. My church in Virginia didn’t have a Christmas Eve service. Instead, we had a huge Christmas Day celebration, which was followed by a big Christmas lunch where everybody got gifts. Our primary mission was the downtown “community” of homeless and struggling folks, who really appreciated those gifts from St. Nick — usually socks and gloves and other items to keep them warm on the streets.

    Last year, I attended a grand Christmas Day service at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. The choir, decorations and those spectacular windows made for a memorable holiday morning. Another year, I went to a “low” Episcopal Christmas morning service — no music and only eight people attended. But it was moving. It felt very pure — not a jingle bell in sight.

    I’ll be thinking of all those Christmas mornings as I attend my hometown church, First Presbyterian, the morning of Dec. 25.

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