If you haven't made that connection yet, let me be the first to inform you: Christmas Day is on a Sunday! While we all probably wish that everyone so valued the true meaning of the holiday that such a collision of the calendar was a moot point, the truth is that Christmas Day falling on a Sunday presents several complications for churches:
- low attendance as many people are traveling or simply prefer to stay home with their families
- the need for novelty after Christmas Eve services the night before
- difficulty lining up volunteers for child care and other weekly ministries
- staff wishing to travel or have the day off
- possibly even your own desire (or your family's) to spend the morning at home
In light of those potential problems, here are several creative solutions to make Christmas Day worship not just another Sunday service but a beautiful, fun, and essential part of everyone's celebration.
Keep it simple by having a song-centered worship. People crave tradition around Christmastime, and will enjoy singing the songs they know by heart. Added bonus: the sermon can be short or replaced by song entirely, so you'll have one less thing to do that week and can spend time with your family instead!
If lining up nursery and children's church workers is a challenge, give your volunteers the week off and declare it a "family worship" day by planning a service that kids can appreciate as much as their parents—lots of music and movement, and a simple, short message that kids can understand.
Have a big breakfast before worship so people can fellowship together on this festive day. Kids can wear their jammies to church and adults can compete in a "goofy slippers" contest. Consider holding worship in the fellowship space for a casual, at-home atmosphere.
Make the morning about service to others. Advertise and send out vans to bring people who may be homeless and isolated to your church for breakfast and gifts. If your location is not suited for such outreach, go to where the people are by serving at a shelter or passing out coffee and muffins on a downtown sidewalk.
Rather than making people choose between their Christmas morning traditions and coming to church, push your start time to noon for a fun midday worship. Remind people that no matter what wonderful gifts they opened that morning, they can't compare to the gift of Jesus Christ coming into the world.
Bottom Line: Do Something Different
It's not just another Sunday, and the temptation of presents and pancakes at home is stronger than the usual temptation of sleeping in and lounging around with the newspaper—so mix it up! Whether you change the style, order, or schedule of worship and other typical Sunday programming, do something different to make this year's celebration of Christ's birth a truly memorable one.