10 Reasons Why Churches Should Celebrate Christmas All Year

10 Reasons Why Churches Should Celebrate Christmas All Year

By December 1, you’ve probably been hearing Christmas music and seeing Christmas decorations, lights and ads for weeks. And as a church leader, you’ve probably been planning Advent and Christmas worship services since late summer or early fall. But really, can people ever get enough of Christmas? Should the season and what it represents be confined to a single day — or even to one month? Maybe we should celebrate Christmas all year long.

Schedules and holidays can seem out of whack when you’re in ministry — or in publishing. Like us, you were probably humming Christmas carols and hymns back in August while working on Christmas-themed material. And like us, maybe that added a spring to your step, sparking visions of cozy gatherings and peace and goodwill toward all.

On the church calendar, the Christmas season extends from the First Sunday of Advent to the beginning of the Epiphany season on January 6. Whether you’re preparing for Jesus’ arrival in the lead-up to December 25 or celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas that follow (leading to Orthodox Christmas), the joy of our Savior’s birth remains.

So why can’t that most special occasion — and everything it stands for — be at the forefront throughout the new year?

10 Reasons to Celebrate Christmas Every Day of the Year

1. Giving and Sharing

The generosity that people tend to express during the Christmas season is a godly character trait, not a fleeting fancy. Heartfelt, sacrificial giving warrants year-long practice, even if it’s not in the form of wrapped gifts. For some children and families, the Christmas celebration includes Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas and loads of presents. But the Christmas tradition of giving is meant to remind us of the most precious gift of all, our Lord Jesus Christ. When we follow our Savior’s example, God empowers us to be generous — like the early Christians in Acts 2:45 — throughout the year. We express that giving spirit through acts of service, donations of money and food, gifts of time, and a wide range of volunteer efforts.

2. Lighting the Way

Christmas lights shine brightly to illuminate the way during a dark and cold time of year. They remind us that Jesus Christ is the Light of the world (John 8:12) and that we, as his followers, are to shine for him (Matthew 5:14-16). From the secular Christmas perspective, lights represented the birth of the sun. But any pagan origin of the holidays, such as possible links to the winter solstice, are overshadowed by the true reason for the season. The meaning of the Christian Christmas celebration is Bible-based, lighting the way to salvation for all who believe in Jesus.

3. Returning to Church

Traditions are an important part of the Christmas season for many families, whether churched or unchurched. And traditions — especially those involving spiritual practices — are worthy throughout the year. Families gather around Advent wreaths for devotions and prayer. They attend candlelight services on Christmas Eve or worship together at church on Christmas Day. And they join hands around Christmas dinner, giving thanks for God’s gift of his newborn Savior. That expression of unity and community doesn’t need to be limited to the year’s final month or to the 25th of December.

4. Sending Well Wishes

Christmas cards, letters, photos and other communications help people keep in touch with loved ones near and far. But why catch up with friends and relatives only at Christmastime? Commit to reaching out with meaningful messages at other times of the year as well. And make communicating a year-round priority within your congregation. How might your church better reach out to active and inactive members, visitors, and even the local community? Social media is helpful, but it’s only a starting point.

5. Making Merry Through Song

Christmas carols and tunes aren’t just for entertainment while completing your shopping list. Many of the songs are Bible-based expressions of the gospel message. Christmas music and beloved hymns stick in our heads because of their catchy tunes and powerful lyrics. They’re also a heartfelt way to worship God, whether sitting in the pews or singing outside with carolers. Churches can harness that musical praise all year long, hosting hymn sings and having choirs perform at nursing homes. Also evaluate your church’s worship styles, including the types of songs you sing at services. Are they keeping worshipers engaged and drawing them closer to Jesus?

6. Hanging of the Greens

Decorating a Christmas tree, hanging a wreath and decking the halls of our homes and churches are memorable ways to celebrate the holiday. Think of the joy you experience when you open a favorite box of ornaments or unwrap an heirloom nativity scene. Consider all the family portraits you’ve taken in front of Christmas trees and all the experiences you’ve had around them. Brainstorm ideas for making and sharing memories with congregants. In addition to worship and educational programming, consider holding community festivals, family game nights, craft sessions and sports leagues too.

7. Remembering God’s Faithfulness

At Christmas, we reflect on God’s Old Testament prophecies and how he fulfilled those promises through Jesus’ New Testament ministry. After all, Christmas doesn’t begin with Christ’s birth in Bethlehem. It’s part of God’s perfect plan to save humanity. That’s why Christmas shouldn’t end with Christ’s birth either. Examine your church’s evangelism and outreach efforts. How do they emphasize the good news of Christmas? How might your church continue to spread the Christmas message far and wide during the upcoming year?

8. Celebrating Jesus’ Birthday

For many children, the highlight of the Christmas celebration is singing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. While reading or hearing the Luke 2 Christmas story, kids picture Baby Jesus in the manger, surrounded by animals in the stable. The gospel comes to life in Bethlehem for young Christians, but adults need that same wide-eyed wonder too. Throughout the year, remind worshipers and Bible study participants about the significance of Jesus being born in human form. Immanuel, “God with us,” humbled himself by coming to earth so he could suffer and die in our place. Easter and the Resurrection couldn’t have occurred without the holy day of Christmas!

9. Sharing Peace and Goodwill

The Christmas season has stressors and challenges, for sure. Yet it generally brings to mind warm thoughts and cozy memories. The holiday spirit embodies joy and selflessness, with people praying for peace to spread throughout the earth. Our world — and churches and homes — need that now more than ever. So “seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14) in tangible ways, even after Christmas ends.

10. Enjoying the Fruits of Christmas

Taking down the Christmas tree, removing decorations and storing the presents can feel anticlimactic and downright depressing. So why not keep a special ornament or figurine in a prominent place as a reminder that Jesus was born for us? Or hang a small stocking in the children’s ministry area or by a church mission bulletin board. Include a note about specific ways people can spread Christmas cheer throughout the year. Fruitcake isn’t the only holiday goodie that should be leftover by spring.

So don’t confine the religious holiday of Christmas to December 25th. And don’t stop celebrating Christmas when retailers quickly move on to the next holiday. Merry Christmas — this month and all year through!

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Stephanie Martin

Stephanie Martin, a freelance writer and editor in Denver, has spent her entire 30-year journalism career in Christian publishing. As senior editor of The Newsletter Newsletter and ChurchArt.com, she helps church administrators with their communication needs. Stephanie also covers current events from religious angles at ChurchLeaders.com. She loves the Word and words, is a binge reader and grammar nut, and recently fulfilled a dream by appearing on Jeopardy! (She came in second.)

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