Will your church be open next Sunday?

A general, ecumenical question. While it’s common for churches to have a Christmas Eve service, Christmas Day services are uncommon. Universalists, perhaps to counter the New England tradition they found, held Christmas Day services and so re-introduced them in my last pastorate. (I’m glad to see the still have one.)

Of course, this year is odd: Christmas falls on Sunday. Do you stick to having a service, or (perhaps correctly figuring it will be poorly attended and the people will be tired or occupied) cancel? And what will it’s character be? A tricky one for the Unitarian Universalists in pluralist congregations reading this. Do Christmas “straight”, or ignore the elephant in the room and offer an alternative?

No judgment: I can see the logic each way.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. The Unitarian congregation we currently belong to has a Christmas Eve service, but is closed on Sunday.

    The Universalist church I grew up in has both Christmas Eve and Christmas Sunday services (but only one service on Sunday morning, rather than the usual two).

  2. the local UU Fellowship is having a Christmas Eve service – the kids put on an Unrehearsed Christmas Pageant (with the milder UU disclaimers). Sunday will be open, with “Lessons from Contemporary Christmas Music and Carols.” New Years Day has the annual fire service.

  3. The last time Christmas Day fell on a Sunday, we had a smaller-than-usual turnout, with no kids at all that I can recall, but there were definitely folks who wanted to come to church. So, once again, we will hold services, using a smaller space than our sanctuary. I’m grateful for my co-minister, who is happy to take this service; the last time, I didn’t have a child, but now I do, and I would really not want to be working on Christmas morning.

    We don’t have Christmas Day services, otherwise–just Christmas Eve.

  4. We will have two services on Christmas Eve and one service on Christmas morning. It will probably be lightly attended, but I certainly don’t see that as a reason not to have it.

  5. In Britain I think it’s more of a tradition to have a Christmas Day service than a Christmas Eve service. My current church has always had a Christmas day service, and since I’ve been there I’ve also introduced a Christmas Eve evening commuinon service. I’ll be expecting maybe a dozen on Christmas Eve and 25 on Christmas day.

    I love to worship on Christmas Day, there’s no where else I want to be.

  6. This year we will join with the Methodists for Christmas Eve services in the evening; no midnight service as we have done the previous few years; instead we will focus on Christmas morning service and common meal.

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