The Christmas season is a festive time of year for many people, secular or religious. It’s hard not to get into a good mood with all the decorations and cheerful music. For many Christians it is a time to remember the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ and proclaim peace and goodwill towards men. But even among Christians there is a debate as to whether Christmas should be celebrated at all. The argument goes that the New Testament never commands the observance of any religious holidays. This short essay is not being written to argue for or against the observance of Christmas among Christians. I’ll leave that argument for another time. However, I do want to deal with the subject of Christmas competing with the Lord’s Day.
This year Christmas falls on a Sunday. Sunday has been established in the New Testament as the day of corporate worship for the body of Christ and is referred to as either the Lord’s Day or the Christian Sabbath. A positive case for Sunday-only worship can be found in the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith. There is no higher priority on the Christian’s weekly calendar than to gather for corporate worship on the day that God commands. The post-Christian society that we live in today has done a good job of watering down those things that God has commanded. There are churches that are substituting Christmas Eve services for Lord’s Day worship. It’s even done by some churches on Super Bowl Sunday! I’m not suggesting that a church that recognizes Christmas should not have a Christmas Eve observance. What I am suggesting is that nothing – not even Christmas falling a Sunday – should cause the canceling of Lord’s Day worship. Man does not have the authority to usurp what God has commanded.
If you are going to observe the Christmas holiday, I pray that you have a wonderful time remembering the birth of our Lord and spending time with friends and family; but I would urge you to think about what God expects – what God has commanded – about corporate worship on the first day of the week.