An Inconvenient Christmas

Christmas scheduling for virtually all churches is a bear this year. With Christmas Eve falling on a Sunday, we aren’t sure when to have what. We can’t cancel Sunday morning services, and we don’t want to over-do it with too many services (tough on pastors, staff AND parishioners!), so we are kind of compromising on the number of services for the holiday.

On Sunday morning, Christmas Eve, we will have ONLY ONE SERVICE at 9am. Later that evening we will have our normal Christmas Eve schedule, with one service at 7 pm and a Candlelight Communion service at 11 pm. As has been our custom here, we will not have a Christmas Day service.

Going back to the title of this article, there is certainly much that is, and always has been, inconvenient about Christmas. One could make quite a long list of all the added difficulties of the season: traffic (have you BEEN on Rosecrans lately?), parking, crowds, extra expenses, cleaning, decorating, family gatherings, parties, gifts to buy, gifts to receive (sometimes harder than giving!), and so on... the list does not seem to end.

For many, the worst, most inconvenient part of Christmas is the deep cultural expectation that this is a time for love, family, peace and hope, which clashes dramatically with the reality that they live. They are left wondering if Jesus is even real or in any way relevant to their lives.

Jesus has always been “inconvenient,” calling into question the values, morals and standards of the world. As hard as the world tried, it could not bend or break him, and even though it ultimately killed him for his challenge to “business-as-usual,” his presence and message would not die.

Does Jesus fit into your reality? Even at Christmas? I’m amazed at how easily Jesus is left out. It’s so strange to watch the commercial frenzy surrounding Christmas with everyone avoiding mentioning Jesus for fear of offending someone or spoiling the extravagant moment.

Let’s try to find Jesus in this “Inconvenient Christmas.” Certainly it’s ok to give gifts, but not out of guilt or fear of disappointing - rather give out of a sincere desire to please and care for someone, taking as your inspiration the amazing gifts given to us in Jesus: sacrifice, freedom, reconciliation, hope and love. Simple or extravagant, purchased or made by you, electronic or even just socks (ok, I know there are electronic, heated socks) - give to those you love, those you care for, those who cannot return the gift to you, those in need. Show love in your giving, be gracious in your receiving. Find Jesus in Christmas!

In Christ,

Pastor Larry