Archives For Christmas

Christmas Eve is one of the three days unchurched people are most likely to come to church. (The other two are Easter and Mother’s Day.)

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This is a prime opportunity to bring newcomers into your church and engage those who come, but most people miss this opportunity because they’re unsure whom to invite or how to go about it.

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Christmas Eve presents a dilemma for family-oriented churches because it’s a time when parents want to bring their children but it is difficult to provide programming for all ages.

Christmas angels in front of church entrance in the evening.

Do you offer an adult service that is high on solemnity but bores children? Or a family service that includes kid-friendly moments but little reverence? Or one of each?

As a pastor I’ve faced this dilemma for years.

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Christmas may be the most stressful seasons of the year, and family finances are a large part of the reasons.

Though we tell ourselves in September that we’re not going to go overboard with Christmas spending, that resolve usually weakens around Black Friday and intensifies during the weeks leading up to Christmas.

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My own family has a history of going all-out for Christmas giving.

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Christmas shopping a huge source of stress for many families because they simply can’t afford to spend as much as they do. The average family will spend about $846 on Christmas gifts this year,  including $46 on their pets. One in three families will go into debt to pay for Christmas.

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Now wonder 45 percent of Americans would prefer to skip Christmas altogether.

Fortunately, there is a better way.

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Christmas is supposed to be a happy season, but it is a sad and disappointing time for many people. One reason for that is that while we think of this as a time to give, we are more often focused on what we will receive.

That was true for me for many years. In fact, my first memory of Christmas is a sad one. Although I was just a small child, maybe three or four years old, I recall being sad and disappointed when I realized that all the presents had been opened. My parents were done giving, but I wasn’t done receiving. I wanted more.

Child who give as gift the world

When I was a bit older, my parents realized that my sister and I were both more interested in receiving than giving, so they devised an ingenious solution.

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