Late to this party, but I’ll bite.
Most people don’t realize the dual purpose of Christmas public worship. Christmas is for faithful. BUT it’s really for the non-faithful.
In the last decades thoughtful churches have noticed that non-church attenders are more willing to visit churches during the Christmas and Easter than other seasons. And it works. Lots of non-Christians find Christmas to be a wonderful open door to future spiritual growth. Lots of faithful people INVITE their non-believing friends to visit.
But going all out for the show is exhausting. The under-reported fact is that if a church is doing worship for non-church-people using volunteers – it’s almost impossible to pull that production off on Christmas day. And – volunteers for churches (and non-profits in general) are NOT ok in 2022. It’s a burnout, overworked, spread-thin crowd. Frankly, it’s not just the right call – not over-working a massive group of volunteers for a Christmas day production that non-Church folks won’t come to is the only realistic option.
I do help lead a church. And frankly – I wish I had the energy for productions this year (they’re great). But, this year our team is exhausted from being faithful doing good (but different) things. As for our church, instead of putting on a show to invite the non-faithful. We’re having a Christmas day service with hardly any volunteers, low production value. I’ll welcome any visitors with “usually production and kids programs are cooler”. But it’s Christmas, and it’s ok. We’ll be together as a church family with nothing fancy, simply honoring the Lord and marking his birth
I think both approaches are good in the life of Jesus’ church. And my prayer this week is that in production, or simplicity. Christmas or Christmas Eve – people already too busy will see the light of Christ bringing peace, joy, love and hope to the world and value him and God’s generosity and kindness in fresh ways.