To begin with, we have called off church on the Sunday following Christmas since we started the church ten years ago. So we have been guilty of whatever sin you call this for a decade.
Every year I encourage our attenders to attend church somewhere else on that Sunday, or stay home and worship as a family , or gather with people from their small group. The reason we shut everything down on the Sunday following Christmas is to honor our volunteers. It takes several hundred volunteers to make Sunday happen for us. The interesting thing is, we’ve never taken any heat for shutting down on a Sunday. I guess nobody was paying any attention.
When I made the decision to shut things down on Christmas day I was wearing my employer hat. To open on Christmas morning would require a hundred or so people to come to work on Christmas morning. I would never do that.
Now, the readers of this blog are sophisticated enough to know that we are messing with a tradition not a Scriptural command. Nobody knows exactly when Jesus was born. The celebration of his birth began long after everyone who had any first hand information about it was dead. That’s why we don’t know exactly when He was born.
The way I read it, the spirituality of an individual or a group should be judged by their track record in two areas – love for one another and generosity with resources.
Bottom line, I may not be a very good Christian or pastor, but this Christmas season there are several hundred people who think I’m a good boss.
As I've said before, I believe that this is a decision every church has a right to make for itself. By pleading "no comment" when this story broke many pastors created the impression that the decision was embarrassing or indefensible. I'm glad Andy Stanley is speaking out and I hope that other churchs will stop letting themselves be intimidated by the hystrionics of the critics.