Last week I was surprised to read that someone's church is not "open" today - not having services on Sunday because it's the day after Christmas. A little googling showed me that that church is not unique. I found many church websites that had a variation on "Enjoy your Christmas holiday; no church on December 26."
The last time Christmas fell on a Sunday there was some controversy about churches opting not to have services on that day. My church was open and we had several visitors, some of whom were really angry that their churches were closed. At the time it didn't seem so odd to me. I thought that so many people go to church on Christmas Eve, so... what's the difference? A little reflection on that changed my mind. For a church to be closed on Sunday now seems ludicrous to me.
Now, it seems even stranger to have church closed a Sunday just because Christmas was yesterday.
There seem to be two reasons put out for the closure: 1, so that people can spend time with their families, and 2, to give workers and volunteers a break.
The first reason doesn't really deserve consideration. Worshiping together as a family during the Christmas season should not be a burden or something to be avoided. If people feel that way, maybe they need to find a new church. Of course people sometimes skip church; traveling or having family and friends in might be good reasons for that. But the church shouldn't close down.
But the second reason given is really telling. Why do the workers and volunteers need a break on the day after Christmas? Are people so burdened they need a Sunday off? Maybe those churches have too many things going on for their congregations to support. Maybe there aren't enough volunteers so the work is not spread around enough. Maybe the church leadership should consider their programs and cut back so people are not overworked. Or maybe they should be encouraging more people to step up and get to work rather than expecting someone else to do everything.
So we are off to church this morning. Our pastor is on vacation so someone else is filling in on the preaching. There will be volunteers for the nursery and someone will still bring food for the fellowship time after the service. Someone will be there to play music. We will probably have a small crowd as people are traveling and some may choose to stay home. But our church will be open on Sunday, as it should be.