This year, Christmas Eve is on Sunday. At our church, we will hold our morning service as usual and offer a Christmas Eve Service. The Christmas holiday can tempt us to swing toward extremes in everything. As church leaders, we are not immune from the temptations. But we need to carefully consider how to lead people to worship at this time of the year. Many are looking for the latest entertainment, favorite song, and best program. But our work is to point them to Christ. Here are a few suggestions on how we are planning this year.
1. Don’t out-clever yourself. There is no need to do something so clever in your service that people have never hear of it. You want them to walk away talking about Jesus and now about the cool thing that you did on the platform.
2. Sing the carols. People love traditional Christmas songs, so sing them. It does not have to be all that you sing so let your church be your church. But remember that many of them are deeply worshipful and theological. Plus, it is a great missional choice since those who barely attend or never attend church will likely recognize the songs.
3. Humility wins. Follow Jesus and be humble about yourself. Turning the service into a brag-fest will make it more like an infomercial about the congregation instead of a people joining together to worship the King.
4. Let the kids be kids. For services like Christmas Eve, we do not offer childcare and I expect the service to be noisy. We invite families to bring the kids and we provide coloring pages and crayons for them. This year, we’ll do a service bingo game and during my message, I’ll be asking the kids to draw specific images related to my message.
5. Be happy and hopeful. Holidays are stressful. Work projects, reminders of deaths, strife in the home, and the list goes on of stressors that people are experiencing. Proclaim and sing about the Christ who gives hope for those who hurt… which is everyone.
6. Be kind to doubters. If you are tempted to take shot at those who attend only on holidays, just don’t. They have trusted you enough to show up so be kind enough to talk about the gospel. Tell them why Jesus is so worthy, why the kingdom is so wonderful, and why the life of faith is one of hope. Help them face the facts that the world is hard and sin is killing them. But don’t beat up people who are already beat up.
7. Be available. I know that it is Christmas Eve and you (along with the rest of the church staff present) want to spend as much time with your family. Do it. Don’t neglect them. But remember that an extra fifteen minutes spent greeting, talking, praying, and visiting with people after a service is not going to wreck your evening.
Christmas Eve is a great missional opportunity so seize it.