Monday, December 12, 2005

What Are You Doing Christmas Day?

By Mitchell

Get Religion has been particularly good lately, and here is their continuing coverage of the Megachurch abandonment of Christmas Day services. (You'll recall I alluded to this in my piece about the New Oxford Review yesterday.)

I find this to be quite an interesting story, as well as the fact that it just won't go away. It seems to really be striking a chord in people, that there's just something wrong about a church being closed on Christmas Day - especially when it happens to fall on Sunday. I recall talking with a friend once who was a lapsed Catholic (since returned), who had even strayed away from Christianity for a time (not seriously, however) who still went to Midnight Mass on Christmas. It just felt right to be in church on Christmas.

One must resist the temptation to stick it to these evangelicals - after all, there are a lot of "twice-yearly" Catholics out there, and before we chide others too much, we really ought to spend a little more time in church ourselves. But as Amy, tmatt and others have pointed out, this really says tons about how the modern megachurch is being marketed as a commodity, and how many (notice I didn't say all) of these churches fail to realize the importance of the communal aspects of religion. And what does it say about how they view Christmas, or Christianity for that matter? Even if these people don't intend to send this message, they have to be more aware of what their actions tell others. As Amy writes,

What the conversation reveals is the poverty of the non-liturgical Christian traditions in this regard, and our own poverty, when we who are the heirs and guardians of 2000 years of reflection and tradition, turn our backs on the rich theological and spiritual feast that's ours, and start thinking, like the rest of the world, about what we have to squeeze in, so that the religious part of Christmas is taken care of, and the real celebrations can begin.

But then, if it's only about having a personal relationship with Jesus, you really don't need organized religion at all, do you?

Of course, when Jesus founded His Church, He might have disagreed on that point.

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