Thursday, December 08, 2005

Willow will be closed on Christmas and I will be home with Malachy...

Here is what lead pastor Gene has to say about the apparently extremely controversial discion for willow to close on Christmas: (Kim had this on her blog and it came from an article in the tribune, I think Gene explained it best!)

"At first glance it does sound contrarian," said Rev. Gene Appel, senior pastor of Willow Creek. "We don't see it as not having church on Christmas. We see it as decentralizing the church on Christmas--hundreds of thousands of experiences going on around Christmas trees. The best way to honor the birth of Jesus is for families to have a more personal experience on that day."It's not that the church does not value Christmas, the day set aside to commemorate the incarnation of God on Earth. Willow Creek is organizing almost a week of worship ending Christmas Eve, and total attendance at the services is expected to top 50,000. The church has also produced a short DVD designed to reinforce the theme of the Christmas services and help viewers process spiritual questions that may cross their minds during the holidays.And Appel argues that family has always been at the heart of the Christmas story: the tale of a mother and father celebrating the birth of a babe in a manger.

I have seen the video and I think it will be a very powerfull tool!! I'm really excited about the opportunity it will present for familys close and far from God to focus on Christ Christmas morning.

3 comments:

Jenna said...

Hey there! I was just coming by to thank you for leaving your very thought-provoking comment on my blog! I really like what your pastor had to say about it. From the statements of other church's leaders..."It's more of a holiday..not a holy day..." it seemed to marginalize Christmas. Thanks for your input and I hope you weren't too offended by my personal feelings on the subject. It totally stinks when Christians turn on eachother over silly stuff...so please don't take me to heart!

In Him,
Jenn

Chris said...

Mark, hello! And his lovely wife, Steph...how are you? Shout out to Malachy (whom I never met; we should do lunch!)

I honestly think this is an issue about which God doesn't care a lick, EVEN with Christmas falling on a Sunday and all. What will happen if we don't go to church on Christmas Sunday? The world will think we don't believe! Christ will be exposed as a sham! The Father will herd us with the goats at the White Throne judgment!!!

Puh-leaze. Sometimes Christians think way too much, in my humble opinion (and I'm the king of over-thinking).

That said, my personal preference is the NOT. Just makes more sense to have families together on the holidays. Besides, that turkey's not basting itself!

By the power of my association with Christ,
Chris

Steph Stanger said...

From the New York Times:
"I think these critics who decry the megachurches should really be aiming their barbs at individual Christians who are willing to stay at home around the Christmas tree instead of coming and giving at least part of that day to the meaning of the holiday," he said. "They should be facing up to the reality of that."

Why can't we all just get along?!

I want Mr. Thumma to know I'm looking forward to facing reality around my Christmas tree with my family come Christmas Sunday!

Does anyone else find it disturbing that there is sooo much attention around this issue? Equally disturbing is the theme that "giving at least part of that day to the meaning of the holiday" means you have to attend a church service in a building!?

Don't those of us who call ourselves Christ followers believe that Christ is in our everyday, normal, eating and drinking, walking around life? Can't we still give our entire day to the meaning of the holiday where ever we are?

Jenn- Thanks for your comment, I'm not offended by your personal feelings on the subject. I appreciate your kindness.

I am however suprised this topic is getting as much attention as it is in the media and I wish we could present a united front as believers...we are all on the same side. (which I know you wouldn't argue with) There have been some comments made by other Christians in the media that seem to be lacking the grace I would hope for from fellow believers. But these things happen. I know I often lack grace towards choices I can't understand.

Chris-I agree, the last couple years I have had to learn how to stop overthinking things!! Thanks for the encouragement!...and I like your sign off!