I suppose it had to happen. The megachurch in Lexington (Southland Christian) consulted with other megachurches like Willow Creek and decided that they would close on Dec. 25th, even though it's a Sunday and even though it's Christmas Day! The rationale given in our local newspaper, The Lexington-Herald Leader, was: people are so busy and Christmas is supposed to be a family day, so this decision was made as a family-friendly gesture. But wait a minute--whose birthday is it anyway? And which family is supposed to be serving which--the family of faith or the physical family? Talking about putting the EM-Phasis on the wrong syl-LABLE.

Our culture does not need any encouragement to be more self-centered and narcissistic or to stay at home on Sunday. It is already that way. Christmas above all else should be a day when we come together as the body of Christ to worship and adore the Lord Jesus. Christmas should be the day above all days where we don't stay home and open all those things we bought for ourselves instead of going to church. Christmas should be the day when we forget about ourselves for a few hours and go and honor the birthday of the great King, our Savior.

What we are dealing with here are churches whose priorities are so askew that they somehow think it is more important for the church to serve the wants of the physical family than the other way around. This is a far cry from the pattern of the original disciples of Jesus who were seen leaving homes, relatives, and jobs to follow Jesus. What kind of message does it send to our culture when churches close on one of its highest holy days? That it is OK to stay home and do one's own thing even on Jesus' birthday?

It is past time that these sorts of churches be called to account. It is time for them to realize that they have simply capitulated to the larger culture's agenda on issue after issue, in this case in supporting the worship of the idol called family in place of the worship of Jesus. The church does not exist to serve the world, but rather to save the world. The church does not exist to serve the physical family, but rather to redeem it and make clear that if it is a Christian family, it has a larger and more primary obligation to the family of faith and to its Lord. Christmas is one of two days in the year when we should especially make that clear to our culture and our country.

Shame on you megachurches. Repent and believe the Gospel, starting with the birth stories of Jesus.

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