The Christmas season is a time when families need to be together. If you’ve ever had to be away from home at Christmas, you know what I mean. Nothing makes you feel more disconnected than to be separated from your kin at a time when the sights, sounds, and even smells of the season are all around us. That’s why so many of us have gone to such time and trouble during the holiday to find our way back home.
I think the same sentiments apply to our family of faith. One of the comments I hear frequently during the special worship and fellowship times at Christmas is that our church membership enjoys being together. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about the Living Nativity experience or the seasonal musicals or Christmas Eve communion, the vast majority of our members like seeing and sharing the significance of Christmas with one another.
For that reason, I believe it’s appropriate for our church to enjoy a series of combined worship experiences around this time of the year. Part of my reasoning is calendar related. With Christmas Eve on a Sunday this year, it just seems appropriate to have a combined service that morning since we’ll have two Christmas Eve communion services that same evening at 4 and 6 p.m. Part of it is out of necessity. Our Contemporary Worship Leader Joel Burks and his fiancée Sara Spradling are getting married on December 16, and though Joel has said that he’d be willing to postpone their honeymoon by a day to lead worship, I declined his most gracious offer. But the biggest reason for this move to a series of combined worship is that the Christmas season simply is a good time to be together. The music is the same. The message is the same. Why not use this time to strengthen our church’s worship unity?
I appreciate so much how well our membership responds to these combined opportunities throughout the year. Trust me; that’s not the case in every church. I have a colleague who complained to me that when he attempted to bring his church together for a combined experience in worship at Christmas one year, he had a member bring up something my friend had said when working to convince the congregation of their need to provide two separate worship opportunities. “But I thought you said that we’d never have to worship with those people!” I am grateful that at MBBC “the twain” often meets and does so with much anticipation.
So, with all of these considerations in mind, we’ll embark on a “combin-athon” in worship for the remainder of the year. For the next four weeks, SMBS will be at 9 a.m. and Worship at 10 a.m. At 11 a.m. this Sunday, we’ll go down to Heritage Hall after worship for a special Christmas brunch. If you’ll remember, opportunities like these are directly connected to our Vision 2020 objectives in both worship and fellowship.
Please help us convey this schedule to others. While we’ll do our best to spread the news through our various church communication outlets, there’s nothing like word of mouth, and especially a personal invitation to someone you know who might benefit from a time like this.
Most importantly, make plans to be with us. The coming Sundays won’t require much of a change in our Sunday schedule for the majority of us; and for those for whom it does, these coming Sundays will present opportunities to strengthen your connection to others in our church.
This is truly the most wonderful time of the year. God has come to be with us in the Bethlehem baby. We are blessed by being in His presence together as well. So, “come on home” this Christmas. There will be a place made ready just for you.
“Let us go now even until Bethlehem, and see this thing which has come to pass, which the Lord hath made known to us” (Luke 2:15).