A couple days ago I offered "A Few Thoughts at Advent". In that post I took to task several mega-churches who have chosen not to have a Christmas morning service. I mounted that high horse of mine again (will no one relieve me of this cursed horse?)and made some slighting comments about congregations who would choose to do such a thing.
I need to step back from some of that today. This seems to be the dance that I am perpetually involved in. Two sharp steps forward, one slow step back. I can only hope that in the end I will be found to have progressed through the steps.
First to acknowledge some personal biases. I'm not a big fan of mega-churches nor of the kind of worship commonly (though not always) found there. Having been raised an Episcopalian I like worship in groups up to a couple hundred, I like vested choirs and much (though not all) of the music of our Hymnal, I love the liturgy of our Book of Common Prayer. Contemporary Christian music is fun but it does not inspire in me a feeling of communing with the divine. My lady wife on the other hand loves it. With that in the background I tend to look a little askance at much of what goes on at places like Willow Creek. That is my failing not theirs and I need to own up to that.
After reading through a discussion on the subject elsewhere I find myself uncomfortable with my previous position. First because I think the attitude ill befits a Christian and second because it makes me a bit of a hypocrite. While I must say that personally I find the idea of "closing" church on Christmas morning inexplicable it doesn't give me the right to look down my nose at my brothers and sisters who have chosen to do so. As pointed out there is a significant body of history of the church that even supports such a decision. Christmas has not been universally celebrated throughout our history. Who am I to say "That's wrong", especially when I am known to resent the hell out of other Christians doing the same thing to me about MY piety? While I can't imagine it I change my stance to:
May God bless them in what they do that day, and
May God open my heart to greater compassion.
And the dance goes on.