Our question this week is straightforward: In my tradition, we dont usually have a worship service on Christmas Day, but this year Christmas will fall on a Sunday. If you are in the same situation, how do you handle this?
Muthah+ responds: Christmas Day when it isn't a Sunday is generally a small intimate service of just a few families. When it is a Sunday it is usually a bit larger. Because the Christmas Eve services tend to be the focus of the Christmas season, the Sunday service can either be the readings of Christmas Day or Christmas II. I would give it the same solemnity to the Sunday as the Christmas Eve service, but with a little bit of light-heartedness in both music and tenor.
For the choir and music director, I remind them that Christmas Day IS a Sunday and a day they are obligated to. I do remind the parish that it IS a Sunday, the service is generally small. Rather than having the usual 2 services, I would have only one unless you are in a really large church.
I would invite the kids to bring one of their gifts and do a 'show and tell' of gratefulness at the Children's time. And if you are hokey enough, you can probably get the parents or other members of the parish to join in if you advertise it beforehand. Keep it light and relaxing and have fun with it. It only happens every 7 years and you can mark your ministry by it. The next time it happens you should be on sabbatical. ;P
And Jennifer writes: Last time Christmas fell on a Sunday, we had one service and it was the Christmas pageant! We were concerned that our attendance would be lower, but it was not. We advertised it as a casual service and people of all ages came to see the long-standing tradition of the pageant, complete with prophets, an Inspiring Voice, dancing stars, shepherds, wise folks, the whole nine yards. It was very, very well received. We’re planning to do the same thing this year.
--- Thank you, Matriarchs! What about the rest of you? How do you handle Christmas when it falls on a Sunday, especially if you serve in a tradition which doesn't ordinarily gather for worship on Christmas Day? Please share your experience and/or what you're planning for this year in the comments! And as always, send us your questions to askthematriarch[at]gmail[dot]com.