Every few years (six or seven, to be exact), Christmas Day falls on a Sunday. This is one of those years.
It makes for a long weekend for those of us involved in worship planning and leadership (especially if you have an 11 p.m. service on Christmas Eve!), but what a privilege to gather together as a church on one of the greatest holidays of the church year.
This year, we're embracing the opportunity to come together and celebrate the birth of Jesus and the gift of salvation to the world on the actual day it’s celebrated.
For most of us, this service will look a little different than normal. It might be shorter or held at a different time or more family-friendly. It might be held in another part of the church, like the fellowship hall or the chapel. And for some, it might include something a little extra-special.
Because, when you think about it, everything about the Christmas Story is unexpected and a little extra-ordinary: the King of kings didn’t come into the world on a white horse, but as a helpless baby. He wasn’t born in a palace, but a stable. Angels appeared not to princes and royals, but to shepherds. And one star shone brighter than all the rest.
Looking for something a little out-of-the-ordinary? Here are six fun ideas for your Christmas Day service:
Create a Living Nativity
Give everyone an opportunity to participate in this part of the service and bring the Christmas Story to life. Before the service, pass out parts of the story to those who are willing to read. Invite others to play certain characters, coming up from their seats when their character is mentioned.
Do a Carol-Sing Around the Christmas Tree
Invite the congregation to sit toward the front of the sanctuary or stand around the Christmas tree and sing their favorite carols. Prepare a medley in advance, or have people call out their favorites like a good old-fashioned hymn-sing.
Unwrap the Christmas Story
Type up short readings and/or parts of the Christmas Story in advance. Wrap each reading in a box and enclose a small Christmas symbol or nativity figurine. Place all gifts under the tree. During your Christmas Day service, take turns opening the gifts and reading about the symbols/figurines enclosed.
Host a Christmas Brunch
What better way to celebrate on Christmas morning than a potluck brunch?! Come together over cinnamon rolls, breakfast casseroles, and fruit salad for an informal time of prayer, music, and Scripture readings. Invite guests to share their favorite Christmas memories and what they’re most grateful for this year.
Bring cookies to service men and women at your local fire station or police station. Deliver food to your local shelter, bring a few treats for the Christmas Day staff at your local hospital, or serve lunch at a local soup kitchen.
Grab your hymnals or songbooks and share the Good News by caroling in your church neighborhood, to shut-ins, or at your local hospital.
Will your church have a Christmas Day service this year? What do you have planned?