Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas and Church: Do They Go Together?

This year Christmas Day happens to fall on a Sunday. That means that many American Protestants will do something they are not used to doing: they will attend church on Christmas Day.

Do Church and Christmas Day go Together?

When my wife and I first moved to America from England, we found it odd that almost all Protestant churches were shut for Christmas Day, though many Protestant liturgical churches will have Christmas Eve services.
In England, church attendance on Christmas morning is as much a part of the celebrations as stockings, mince pies and carols. In fact, many English men and women who hardly ever set foot inside a church will attend their local Anglican church on Christmas morning. Indeed, walking to the village church on Christmas morning, accompanied by the festive music of the church’s bells, is such an integral part of an English Christmas that when we moved to America my wife and I found it difficult to imagine a Christmas without it.
In America, the tradition of going to church on Christmas morning has been preserved mainly among Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, with the exception of a handful of liturgical churches. The reformed Presbyterian church that my family attends reintroduced the practice a few years ago.
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