Christmas services

A Protestant friend said that her church (Presbyterian) didn’t have services on Christmas day. The reasons were that the pastor and congregation would rather spend their time with family, friends, and travel.

Her church did have Christmas eve services.

It seems kind of odd to me to skip Christmas day. :shrug:

Is this common in Protestant churches? I can see maybe a non-denominational church might do it this way, but I was surprised that a mainline Protestant would.

As I recall our Puritan ancestors did not observe Christmas in anyway. They mandated it be an ordinary workday.

True. And our priest said in his homily that Christmas day itself hadn’t held more importance than some of the other Christmas season observances (Epiphany, for example).

But to not hold services so the pastor can spend time with her family seems a little flimsy to me.

Many Christian denominations hold no Christmas eve/day services. Perhaps one way to put Christ back into Christmas is to celebrate the Incarnation of our Lord on Christmas day with a Christmas eve/day service!

Many Protestant churches have their Christmas services on the Sunday before Christmas. It gets more trickier when Christmas falls on a Sunday because you have some members of the church who want to go to church and others who want to spend the morning with families.

Quite common. We rent a chapel from the Presbyterians and they had no service on Christmas when we had Mass

A small parish may celebrate the Birth of Christ on Christmas Eve and not hold a separate Mass on Christmas day.

It really depends on the individual churches, the availability of the space and the needs of the community. For instance, most Protestant churches in my area all offer a service on Christmas Eve. Some will have a family service around 7pm and a late evening around 9 or 10pm. Others will only have one in the evening. They may also have a service on Christmas day but that depends because most of the Protestant ministers are married therefore they tend to spend Christmas Day with their families. It really varies. It is also impossible to generalize how these churches work because the Protestant Churches cover many denominations ranging from the Anglicain, Pentecostal, Presbyterians, Baptist just to name a few.
In addition, not all Protestant churches own their spaces or buildings. In fact they rent them. I have gone to services that were held in office buildings, people’s homes, schools and other churches. Depending on the availability of their spaces, they may not have access to their spaces on Christmas Eve. Some congregations may also have a service because of the age of their congregation. Some churches are filled with seniors and others young families. It really depends.
In the end how our Protestant brothers and Sisters celebrate Christmas should not be determined on whether or not they offer a Christmas Eve service. There are countless ways to celebrate Christ’s birth.

A Congregational church I frequently attend (in addition to, not instead of, Mass) does not hold service on Christmas Day but only on the eve. I think its a bit funny because they otherwise scoff at our vigil Masses…

Thank goodness Easter is always on a Sunday!

To be fair many Protestant (and certainly the Congegational) churches do not teach a requirement to attend any church service and mention of a ‘holy day of obligation’ would send them into gales of laughter.

I grew up in various protestant churches (baptist, presbyterian, non-denominational, and lutheran) and the closest we ever got to celebrating Christmas was in the LCMS and WELS lutheran churches where they held Christmas eve services…

My tiny confessional Lutheran parish offered services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I didn’t go to either but I heard they were lovely.

My church had a candlelight Christmas eve service (at 11pm), and a Christmas day service. They were really lovely, and were both well attended.

I suppose it is an individual church decision :shrug: But I do find it very strange that there was not a service on Christmas day.

I was raised in Assemblies of God and attended that denomination until I converted to Catholicism in 2009. I’ve ever seen, or heard of, them holding a Christmas day service. Christmas eve services were only held if Christmas eve happened to land on a Sunday.

We had a candlelite service on Christmas Eve, and Divine Service on Christmas Day. My mom’s WELS congregation held services both days as well.

When I was in high school, for a couple years I played in a music ensemble for a small Lutheran church’s two Christmas Eve services. One was at 7PM and the other at 11PM. I always assumed they also had a Christmas Day service.

I have fond memories when I hear some of the German carols that were sung during those services.

I was an enthusiastic and involved member of Evangelical Protestant churches for the first 47 years of my life.

Evangelical Protestant worship services are a lot of work involving a lot of people. Usually these churches have not just one, but several pastors who participate in the worship services. (One will pray, one will do announcements, one will give the sermon, all will participate in the altar call, etc.)

The pastors have to prepare a sermon, and remember, it will be expected to last at least a half-hour! None of these 5-minute homilies! No, no, no!

Of course, it would be even better if the pastor does something “special” for Christmas, like acting out the part of Joseph while his wife acts out the part of Mary. Or maybe the sermon will be omitted and an all-Church Christmas pageant involving dozens or even hundreds of people will be performed.

The music alone in many Evangelical Protestant worship services is glorious on any given Sunday, and it takes a lot of musicians and techs. Even if it’s just piano, there is a song leader. Christians would expect the most beautiful music of all on Christmas Day! Maybe even a cantata with an orchestra!

All this takes a LOT of work! And in snowy climes, the maint. staff has to clear the parking lot and try to get rid of ice that might injure older members. That means getting up very early in the morning.

Most of the musicians in the Evangelical Protestant worship services are volunteers (except for the music pastor), and many balk at the idea of leaving their families, especially their small children, on Christmas Day, to come to the church and perform.

In fact, many families have rebelled in the last few decades against the “Christmas Pageant” or the cantata being done too close to Christmas. That’s why you see a plethora of Evangelical Protestant Christmas programs being done the second week of December.

I’ve said it before on these forums, and I’ll repeat it–Evangelical Protestantism keeps its members very very busy! Most weeks, my husband, children, and I were at church or doing a church activity 5-6 nights/days per week! And since I was a church musician, there were lots of practices in preparation for those activities. The figure skating was a challenge to fit into all that work!

I think that Evangelical Protestants see Christmas as a “break” from all their busyness work, and a chance to just stay home with their families.

In fact, Christmas Eve is a great opportunity for Catholic churches. For many years as an Evangelical Protestant, I would wait until my children were asleep and the family was sitting around the tree sipping hot chocolate and chatting, and I would attend a midnight Mass at whatever Catholic Church was nearest. I know that a lot of Evangelical Protestants do this (or even attend a Christmas morning Mass) out of curiosity, a desire to experience ancient Christianity (the OF Mass is ancient to Evangelical Protestants), or just a desire to sit back and relax in a church where they aren’t expected to DO anything but listen. :slight_smile:

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