Today, I am re-posting a blog post from Jon Acuff’s popular blog “Stuff Christians Life” (stufchristianslike.net). Acuff is a Christian satirist who says he tries to clear out the clutter of Christianity so we can see the beauty of Christ through humor. He posts daily, and I have really enjoyed a lot of his stuff. Anyway, he wrote a post for Christmas that made me laugh and I wanted to share it with you.
“Wishing Your Contemporary Church Would Go Old School During Christmas”
by Jon Acuff
“I love my church.
I attend Cross Point Church in Nashville and absolutely love it. Allow me to count the ways:
1. There’s no mysterious “e” at the end of “Point.” (Not what you would put at the top of your list? Fine, we’re different.)
2. Pete Wilson is an amazing pastor and it’s great to sit under his leadership.
3. Our family has really found a sense of community there and made some awesome friends.
4. Cross Point is sharing the gospel in Nashville and around the world.
5. The worship on Sunday mornings is fantastic.
I could go on and on, but at some point I have to segue to the main idea of this post.
Every Christmas though, deep down inside, I secretly wish that my very contemporary church would go old school. All year long, I love how modern we are. Man, oh man, that speaks to my contemporary heart. That is my jam!
But, as I take my last bite of turkey on Thanksgiving Day, I turn into old school traditional church guy and start to long for an old fashioned Christmas church experience. This isn’t unique to Cross Point either. I felt the same exact way when we attended North Point in Atlanta. (I can only attend churches that end in “Point.” I’m sorry, that’s just how I was raised.)
What does that mean? Old school Christmas? Well here are 9 things I want our church to do at Christmas.
1. No new Christmas songs.
If it was written in the last 25 years, let’s not sing it during Christmas. I’m not even willing to make a Christmas Shoes exception for this one.
2. Break out the hymnals.
I know we’ve got some in the basement. Let’s get them out, enjoy a little of that old school hymnal smell and sing “O’ Come All Ye’ Faithful.”
3. Hang up some stained glass windows.
Where? I don’t know. I’m not in charge of logistics. My job is awesome ideas. And nothing says old school like a 3,000 pound stained glass window.
4. Two words, “Hand Bells.”
Is that one word? Maybe. Know what else is one word? Focus. I feel like you’re getting distracted by grammar. The only time of year I really want to hear some hand bells is at Christmas time. You think the angels are up in heaven celebrating the birth of sweet baby Jesus with synthesizers or drum kits? Doubtful. They’ve got hand bells. Let’s get some too.
5. Choir robes.
We don’t have a choir so this one is going to be difficult. But I’m not a tyrant. I’ll wear a choir robe. Just to “Christmas up” the whole place. My only request is that the robe has enough room for me to dance like the nuns in Sister Act 2.
6. Candles on Christmas Eve
If you’re not handing out open flames to a room full of people wearing big, fluffy, flammable winter coats in the dark, I’m not even really sure you love Christmas. Fortunately our church still does this, but just in case they were thinking about going to little flashlights or something I had to mention it.
7. At least a cameo by a live donkey.
I’d prefer the donkey was around all month, but I’m not unreasonable. I’ll settle for a cameo one Sunday during the live nativity scene. P.S. We need to have a live nativity scene.
8. At least one criticism of Santa from the pulpit.
Few things are as old school as throwing Santa under the bus. If you really want to spice it up, feel free to say something about how evil it is that people say “Happy Holidays.”
9. An old man who reads the Christmas story to kids.
Next to trying to blow out every candle in a three pew radius, my favorite part of the Christmas service is when the old guy reads the Christmas story. Did you have that at your church? He had white hair, a must, and would sit at the front of the church and all the little kids would come down to hear the story. Classic.
Aren’t you feeling more Christmasy already? Forward this to your pastor and they’ll probably get right on this list of suggestions. Except for the donkey one. Donkeys are ornery and surprisingly good at kicking. Most churches are pretty strict about letting live donkeys roam around church. Weird.”