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Christmas Eve Shows: Bah Humbug!

December 24, 2008

Well, it’s that time of year.  The time when I have to pack up the family and go to a Christmas eve show at a church–not a service, a show.  I am not looking forward to the hour to hour and a half of Christmas carols, specials, dramas, and other lame performances by many who could not get on a stage anywhere outside of their church.

Just because it’s this time of the year I’ll throw an olive branch: I’m probably not talking about your church. You probably do everything at a very high production level paralleling anything in the entertainment world.  People will be dazzled.  I’m talking about all those other guys.  You know those ones.  The many, many churches that will have painful solos, and forty year old men in bathrobes and Birkenstocks delivering lines stiffer than Dan Marino in Ace Ventura!

Last year I went to the Christmas Eve service at a church that shall remain unnamed in Edmonton, AB.  It was horrific.  I passed through various stages of lament, shock, grief, disbelief, attempting to claw my minds eye out, and anger.  There was one of the cheesiest dramas I have ever seen in my life with two angels reading from the heavenly news paper.  Adding to the pain was actors mic’d  on the opposite shoulders they were facing and speaking, therefore, leading to pieces of dialogue being lost, and an angel with a lisp so strong that if he turned to the audience and exclaimed in disbelief “Inconceivable” I would have burst into hysterics for at least 15 minutes… which may have salvaged the show.

When the interpretive dancers came out–many who I could wipe the floor with, and I suck–with the saddest dance ever, and a backup dancer near taking out the set I went into such a state of cognitive apoplexy that my Christmas Eve was nearly ruined.

Remember this won’t be your church, it will be those other guys.  You’re cool.

All that said, I suppose at the end of the day what I find problematic on one level is that Christmas Eve is one of the few times a year that you get non-Christians darkening the door of many churches, and what happens?  We try and be cool and entertain.

I know that we need to be relevant and speak to people in a language they can understand, and Paul said, “I have become all things to all people”–though I believe if he saw some modern seeker sensitive attempts he would not so subtly suggest that they must be trying to reach the lame–but there is also a great caveat to this approach as well that all too often I see ignored: No one says “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.

If you are telling the Christmas story this year why not bookend it with the Easter story because really, the only reason we tell the birth narrative is because we believe that the Rabbi came out of the tomb.  That’s what really brings Joy to the world.  Try trusting the Holy Spirit. Worship and tell the wonderful good news.  If they aren’t buyin’ it, you ain’t gonna entertain them into heaven.

If you don’t want to portray that message then it might be time to reconsider your vocation.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. willohroots permalink
    December 25, 2008 6:42 pm

    Funny you should say that. Last Sunday I preached a Gospel message that the baby born and laid in a wooden manger came to die on a wooden cross, The Saints amened and loved it, the “seekers thought it wasn’t “joyous” enough , save the cross for Easter.
    For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

  2. December 26, 2008 5:24 pm

    hey, “it’s good enough for church …”

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