At Willow Creek Community Church outside Chicago, Sunday morning generally features eight worship services at four locations with 15,000 people attending.
On Christmas Sunday this year, their doors will be closed.
As quoted in USA Today:
Cally Parkinson, a spokeswoman for Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., said church leaders decided that organizing services on a Christmas Sunday would not be the most effective use of staff and volunteer resources. The last time Christmas fell on a Sunday was 1994, and only a small number of people showed up to pray, she said.
"If our target and our mission is to reach the unchurched, basically the people who don't go to church, how likely is it that they'll be going to church on Christmas morning?" she said.
According to Willow Creek the only reason to worship God on Sunday is to reach the unchurched? I thought that Christians worshipped God on Sunday in order to......uh.....worship God!?
Sure Christmas is a busy day....for families in particular. There are stockings to poke through. Bicycles to assemble. Presents to unwrap. Food to cook. Guests to accommodate. Trips to make. When Christmas falls on a Sunday, like it does this year, how can people be expected to squeeze in a morning worship service in the middle of all that?
Christmas, after all, is about families, isn't it? Or is it about God....and Jesus....the Incarnation...the Word become flesh....the advent of the Son of God....Immanuel....the Prince of Peace.
On that first Christmas,
-Angels took the time to form a choir, and;
-Shepherds took time off in order to find the baby Jesus and worship him.
It seems to me that the Christmas story provides a clear guide to what should be a Christian's priority on a Christmas Sunday morning.
After all, the only present really worth celebrating on Christmas Day is the gift of Jesus himself.
Come to think of it, Easter morning is a busy time for families, too. All those egg hunts and Easter baskets and family gatherings and travel plans and cooking big Easter meals.
Perhaps Willow Creek should close down on Easter, too. It's a real bother that Easter has to land on a Sunday every year.
Note: It's almost enough to make this parody seem like the real thing!