Redeemer (www.RedeemerNashville.net) will be gathering twice in worship this weekend. On Saturday night, we will have our traditional Midnight Mass. This service begins with special music at 10:00 p.m. The liturgy itself begins at approximately 10:30 p.m. Midnight Mass includes Holy Communion and our candlelight vigil. There will be no childcare.
On Sunday morning, we will offer one Christmas Sunday service at 10:00 a.m. Our normal 9:00 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. services will be combined for this one service. There will be no childcare and no Sunday school.
I'd like to respond to two questions that some people have asked regarding our worship schedule. A couple of people have asked why we do not celebrate a service earlier in the day on Christmas Eve for older people and young families. We do not because in our tradition we always have a Christmas Day service. These Christmas Day services are appropriate for all ages; young families and older people are often in attendance. By keeping with this tradition we ensure that everyone is able to join us in worship on Christmas, even if they can not attend a late night service.
The second question is about having worship on Sunday morning. Some churches are not worshiping together this Sunday because they feel that Christmas morning is a time for families. In Anglicanism, Christmas Day is a feast of the Church. Many people are fond of saying "keep Christ in Christmas." They don't like "happy holidays" or "xmas." While I personally don't have a problem with these sayings, I understand the sentiment. If we wish to truly keep Christ in Christmas, I would say that the best way to do that is to make Christmas about worshiping him.
I would also like to say that Christians have met, when possible, for Word and Sacrament every Sunday morning for 2000 years. Each Sunday morning is a Feast of the Resurrection. This Sunday is no different just because it happens to fall on Christmas Day. So this Sunday we gather for two reasons: to celebrate the Incarnation and the Resurrection. If personally find this to be a compelling reason to at least offer the possibility of worshiping together on Sunday morning.
Finally and very importantly, let me remind you of Paul's words in Colossians 2:16-17: "Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ." Some of you will not go to church on Saturday night or Sunday morning. Let no one judge you, and let none of us judge those who do not attend church. Let us not judge churches that chose not to meet. I do no think poorly of any person who wishes to stay at home on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and celebrate with their family. I do no judge or condemn them. Rather, I write to you today simply to explain why it is that in the Anglican tradition we do things the way we do.
Bless you all. Have a blessed Advent and a joyous Christmas,
The Reverend Thomas McKenzie