Why I Changed My Mind About Christmas Eve
Growing up, my family didn’t go to church on Christmas Eve. If our church had held services, my family of seven would likely have filled our designated pew. But maybe not. I’m sure other churches in our city turned on their lights and heat for services on December 24 each year…and we never attended any of those.
I couldn’t begin to identify all the reasons I had never been to a church service on Christmas Eve until 3 years ago. The point is, I didn’t even think it was an option.
(I mean, I knew it was an option in a theoretical sense, like how I know it’s an option to not have Rocky Road ice cream before bed.)
For me, Christmas Eve was an opportunity to pick up a last-minute Christmas gift or two, go out for pizza, get together with friends to play board games, binge on those freshly decorated snowman cookies, or go see a movie. The list was long, but going to church wasn’t on it. It just didn’t seem necessary.
Fast forward to December 24, 2014.
My family had been attending New Charlotte Church for some time, but this was the first year we were in town for the holidays, so we decided to check out the Christmas Eve service. Why not, right?
I will never forget that night. It was a packed house. Everyone was dressed to the nines. A gospel choir joined the worship team and the energy they brought to the evening was electric. I closed my eyes and imagined we were the choir of angels singing praises to God on a hillside in front of the shepherds. I could have stayed in that moment together.
When Chris took the stage to speak about the offering, I was taken aback to find that 100% of the money given on Christmas Eve would go to serving our city––so they, too, could know about Jesus. I stood in awe, watching people give generously to the work God was doing in the city of Charlotte.
As I looked around, I saw many familiar faces, who were surrounded by friends and family they had invited to join them. My excitement grew as I heard the Gospel being clearly presented to everyone within earshot. Someone is beginning a relationship with Jesus. That thought overwhelmed me.
The most memorable moment of the night was singing Silent Night with candles in hand. A single flame, passed from person to person, had lit up the whole room. It was a powerful picture of what it means to take the Light of Christ and share it with those around us.
I used to think of Christmas Eve as just another day to gear up for Christmas. But I’ve changed my mind. Worshipping with my New Charlotte family on Christmas Eve is something I look forward to all year. I hope you and your family make plans to join us this year, and don’t miss the opportunity to invite some friends to come along with you. You might end up changing their minds, too.
New Charlotte is hosting Christmas Eve services on December 24 at 3pm and 5pm, with an online rebroadcast at 8pm. Learn more about the services here.
Josh Greer is Student Director at New Charlotte. His interests include 90s Contemporary Christian Music, nachos and building. He and his wife, Joy, live in Matthews with their three daughters, and are in the process of adopting a son from Haiti.