The Christmas Eve service you’re looking for exists—we’ll get to that in a second. But, first, let’s have some fun thinking about why we go looking for church this time of year (or you can skip to the bottom to find a Christmas service).
Maybe we look for Christmas Eve services because it feels right as part of some passed-down family tradition? Or is it that we’ve been spending money, smelling cinnamon candles, and wrapping presents so much that we want some kind of blessed break from it all? Is it the music? You know that church music that just does something you can’t explain? Is it for pastor jokes? Surely it’s not for pastor jokes. It can’t be. Maybe it’s because this time of year has us aware of a longing—you know when you feel like there must be something deeper, something so much better than the excess and angst around us?
Let’s get to the bottom of this.
Going to church around Christmas as a family tradition
The weather is changing, and you finally have a good reason for that long overcoat, that scarf, or that sweater you only pull out once a year. You’re betting someone will foot the bill for the meal after, and your one cousin will start a hilarious group text at just the right moment in the service. Or maybe you live away from family and something about church this time of year helps with that. The Christmas Eve service you’re looking for provides all this, but is that really the only thing that keeps you looking?
Relief from retail and Christmas crazy
Okay, this is a really strong case. There is something about the story of baby Jesus in a wooden box meant for animal feed that really simplifies the season. Like maybe all the fighting traffic to get the best deal is not the meaning of life and somehow the story of God coming to earth as a baby in a barn full of love for everyone is a more viable option. This kind of peace sounds really nice right about now.
Check. Yes. Whether it’s Christmas carols bringing you back to your roots or some new epic ballad leaving you convinced that, as long as this music exists, there must be someone who knows you better than yourself. Isn’t it amazing how certain music seems to connect us to God, others, and ourselves? No wonder the author of the book of Luke wrote that angels started singing when Jesus was born. It’s just the right thing to do in that situation. So maybe you go for the music, but why do you go for the music?
Christmas pastor jokes
This isn’t what you’re after. Proof: What did Adam say to his wife on Christmas? It’s finally Christmas Eve! Sorry that just happened. Will someone delete that joke from the Internet?
Maybe you haven’t been in church lately, but the last time you showed up, you had a surprisingly settled sense of self. A knowing that it was going to be okay and that you were enough, or if not that maybe God is enough. Maybe you’re in church all the time, but you just feel half-alive, and something about Christmas, that single focus on Jesus, brings you back to life. You could be like many people. You think there must be a God, but you’re just not too sure about all the specifics, and Christmas feels like the right time to look into it.
Whatever your reasons are, don’t you think it’s worth an hour? What’s the worst that can happen? A pastor joke?