ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s not as simple as saying it’s gift versus God. On a holiday increasingly influenced by popular culture and traditions though, some churches are picking their battles.
Nearly 10-percent of churches nationwide are cancelling Sunday services this weekend in order not to compete with Christmas morning plans.
Grace Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Arlington is one of them.
They’ve enjoyed a month of advent services, and will be holding services Christmas Eve.
Sunday morning though, the doors will be closed.
“People who are not used to having these traditions, they’ve already got their traditions,” said pastor Bob Oliver. “Church is a bit of an imposition.”
Oliver said his church polled members and found many didn’t plan on attending Sunday.
Rather than just give up on worship all together, they decided to at least try to send home Christmas in a box.
The church put together more than 80 square, tin boxes, filled with items to help families worship at home Christmas morning.
They have scripture readings, a CD with Christmas hymns, a candle and a star for kids to hang on the tree.
“We looked at it and said ‘okay, let’s be considerate of the Christian tradition and let’s be considerate of the traditions people have in their homes and families that they’ve made over generations,’” Oliver said.
The idea of cancelling services on the second biggest Christian celebration of the year still seems countr-productive to some pastors.
“If we would schedule a regularly scheduled service because it’s Christmas, it somehow seems inconsistent with the whole spirit of advent,” said Pastor Roger Rymer of Lake Ridge Bible Church in Mesquite.
His church will scale down to just one service Christmas morning.
It will be more family oriented, with children dressing in nativity scene costumes.
Cancelling completely though her said might risk preferring convenience over commitment turning Christmas into a celebration without significance.
“Our church family would be disappointed, if we didn’t have church on Christmas Sunday,” Oliver said.
Some analysts said the decision may not be as significant as it might seem simply because it is not an issue pastors have to face often.
It was 2005 the last time Christmas fell on a Sunday, and it won’t happen again until 2016.