In a new poll 28 percent of Canadians said they would be attending church for Christmas. Ironically, 68 percent responded on the survey that they were Christian. (See ” Traditional holiday customs on the outs in Canada: study” available here: http://www.canada.com/life/holiday-guide-2011/Traditional+holiday+customs+outs+Canada+study/5905786/story.html)
Wow, a little over one-third of Canadian “Christians” go to church at Christmas. If you’re not going to church at Christmas when will you go? (Easter, presumably. However, when the writer of Hebrews wrote that Christians should be “not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing…” (10:25) one suspects he was thinking more often than once or twice a year.)
Presumably one big problem is that church does not easily fit into many busy (or delightfully relaxed) holiday schedules. This despite teh fact that many churches have sought to be flexible to this new reality by scheduling their services at convenient times. My church (for which I’ll be leaving in half an hour) has one 11 AM service for Christmas Day. In other words, the standard Sunday morning time. But another large church just down the block from my house is seeking to be innovative by scheduling a single 2:30 PM service. I take it that the afternoon scheduling (for a church that usually has a couple morning services on Sunday) is an attempt to meet perceived consumer demands. After all, people will want their time to open gifts and enjoy their Christmas waffles this morning.
I appreciate the thought. But on the downside, by 2:30 many households will already have their turkey in the oven and be frantically vacuuming for the soon-to-arrive company. So a relaxing morning of opening gifts and enjoying waffles will bleed into an afternoon of preparing for the evening meal. And church gets squeezed out for yet another week.
Someone will say, “That’s okay. Church will still be around next week.”
True enough. But will the congregants?