I’ve been hearing lots of chatter online from pastors wondering what to do about worship on Christmas Day – particularly since it falls on a Sunday this year. The number one “issue” that I have heard folks pondering: what to do when you are pretty sure that most folks will be staying home. Maybe your church choir is going to be “on vacation”. Maybe there are lots of people who have already told you that they will be absent. Maybe (if we’re honest, pastors), we just don’t want to stress ourselves out on Christmas Day. Whatever the reason is, you have come to the right place! Here are a few creative, “alternative” worship suggestions for Christmas Day:
Instead of preaching a sermon (but staying in the worship space):
- Invite the congregation to share their favorite Christmas memories. Begin and end the time of sharing with scripture and singing.
- Sing through all of the Christmas hymns in your hymnal. This will probably work best if your music staff is available, of course. If you have rhythm instruments (tambourines, triangles, wood blocks, etc), invite people (especially children) to “make a joyful noise” while you sing!
Instead of staying in the “traditional” worship space:
- After a time of prayer, scripture reading, and singing, move your worship service into a fellowship hall or larger classroom. There, create greeting cards for all of the shut-in members and friends of the congregation. Since you will be making these on Christmas Day, making cards that celebrate the coming New Year would be a good idea (unless you are able to hand deliver the cards that day, in which case Christmas Cards would be fantastic).
- Don’t want to make cards? You could make huggable fleece pillows – perfect to bless and give to a domestic violence shelter, children’s hospital, or nursing home. Anyone can make these – and the small pillows can be made fairly quickly. I recommend preparing all the fabric beforehand, so you don’t have to take time cutting on Sunday. Click here for some simple online instructions. If you really want to make it special, write a prayer or blessing on a piece of fabric and tuck it inside the pillow stuffing.
- If your church family loves to cook, move your worship service into the kitchen! You could bake cookies (to take to a shelter or nursing home), or you could cook a full meal (either to deliver to people’s homes, or to invite those in need to share in the feast). Remember: O taste and see that the Lord is good…
- People aren’t the only ones who need love during the Christmas holiday. Our pets deserve a little love, too. Even the “wild animals” will honor the Lord, so why not share the Christmas joy with them? Move your worship service into the kitchen to make some homemade treats for dogs, cats, and even the birds outside. Deliver the treats for dogs and cats to a local animal shelter, and don’t forget to feed the birds that gather around the church!
Instead of staying in the building:
- If you make any of the crafts suggested above (or you’ve made something at a different time), take them to shut-in members and friends of the congregation. Certainly, on Christmas Day of all days, they will appreciate the visit from members of the church. Have folks meet at the church for prayer first, and then divide into groups to deliver the Christmas gifts. You could meet back at the church later for a potluck supper (and to share stories about your visits).
- If the weather is good, gather at the church for some scripture and prayer, and then grab your hymnals and hit the streets! Get out into your community and share the Good News in song!