IN a search on a topic “Christmas in America”, my initial search returned several of the typical “war on Christmas” type articles. When I add “Hauerwas” to the search (to mitigate against such results), I found this post (which doesn’t include Hauerwas, but the page on which Google found my search terms included another article downstream that quoted Hauerwas, so such a page would be more likely to be of the emphasis for which I was searching: that is, looking critically at “Christmas in America” as contaminated with “Americanisms” and less upon the proclamation of the advent of God’s peace established).
This post hits the nail on the head:
Itâ€™s not only megachurches that have elected to close on Christmas Day this year, many congregations wonder if itâ€™s worth the extra energy given the conflict church-goers may face between family obligations and congregational worship.
It makes me wonder what in the world weâ€™re thinking in the church these days. â€œLetâ€™s close the church on Christmas Day so people can spend time with their families.â€ But isnâ€™t church the â€œfirst familyâ€ in the life of the Christian? What does baptism really mean and how does being baptized into Christ re-prioritize our obligationsâ€”even to our families?
I just wonder if they would close on Easter? I think the same argument could be made–especially for those who actually have a Holy Week.
This is mainly an evangelical church issue and the reason is much more theological than many have stated. The evangelical church places a huge emphasis on resurrection and much less on incarnation. (I recognize this is a generalized statement) Jesus died for me versus Jesus Lived for me.
Source: odyssey: Closing On Christmas
Interesting theological question : “The evangelical church places a huge emphasis on resurrection and much less on incarnation.” It would certainly seem so, and the whole comparison between Easter and Christmas may uncover that in the end, we “secularize” Christmas in the church by giving preference to “the family” at Christmas, when the nation is wrapped up in the “season” of travel, gift-giving, and large family gatherings where food is in abundance. In other words, it is a boom for the economy. It’s like a return to Thanksgiving.
Now I look forward to both these holidays. I enjoy the food. I like the visiting with relatives and seeing old friends in Cincinnati. But this question does indeed raise the matter of Christian celebrations as church of these primary events . It would seem that Advent, Easter, and Pentecost are the large emphases. Revealing also is the relative absence of Pentecost as it compares with the Easter and Christmas celebrations. There’s no emphasis at all on “being with family” (God’s family in this case) , on the occasion of theological focus on just that: God’s family, the church, it’s birth and role as the “Continued Acts of Jesus” in the form of his Body; The Body of Christ incarnate in God’s People.
Thanks Jesse! Yeah, in fact, as a “church needer” , I realize that loving my family requires that , to truly seek the best for the family, we need to be joined to the “family of families”; the real “extended family”. Blood ties are but one among many subsets of relations that we NEED to have God’s kind of family.
Much of this is expressed in the posts about “Becoming the Authentic Church” which you can see by clicking on the link in the blue header where I have the quote.
I’m glad to hear from you.
Really good observations… I really hadn’t given that much thought, but I think you’re right. I’m pretty sure my local church is having only a Christmas Eve service… and nothing on Christmas Day.
I think sometimes in the sub-culture of the church in America, we idolize our “family” instead of materialism or other black-listed items. This might be what Jesus was talking about in Luke 14 when he tells us that we don’t hate our wives and children, we can’t be his disciples.
I’m looking forward to checking out the rest of your blog!