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Christmas Eve has the potential to be your church’s biggest day of your year. You will see the most guests. You will have the most opportunity to minister to your community. As you prepare for this special gathering, here are some things to consider.


You may have unchurched and unchurched folks coming into your doors this Christmas Eve. This is not the day to introduce a new awesome song. Instead, choose songs the majority of your people are going to be able to sing. Christmas carols in their traditional form are great for this. There are also hymns that are known outside the church walls. The first verse to Amazing Grace is surprisingly well known even by those who have little knowledge of church world. By singing songs that are easy to recognize, you are inviting the stranger to be a part of worship.


Don’t be clever. Don’t show off your incredible knowledge. Don’t spend your time proving that you are cooler than other pastors. Take this moment to proclaim the finished work of Christ. Your message should be laser-focused. Beware of rabbit trails about politics or family values. This will not save the human soul. People have brought family and friends hoping they would encounter the living Christ. They have not come for a variety show starring your family. Don’t betray their trust by grinding some axe that has little eternal value.


Christmas Eve is not a federal holiday. That means if you schedule a noon gathering you are eliminating people who have to work. If this gathering is truly for the community, you must consider the community’s life. If you are a larger church, this might mean both an early and an evening gathering. But if you can have only one gathering, and you wish to reach the working class of your community, an evening service is something to be considered.


What is your church’s goal this Christmas? The preaching of Jesus’ saving work to lost sinners should be at the top of your list. Beware of diluting your purpose with sideways energy. If you are announcing a hundred things during the Christmas season, then the center is very easily missed. The congregation should know the message of the Gospel is your front line. Encourage them to pray over who they will invite. Equip the saints to engage their neighbors. Prepare for the crowds that will come. This should all be a priority. If your church has events that get in the way of doing this, then consider how your church can become more focused. If there are events that are completely internal, blessing only yourselves, then you are wasting the opportunity that is given.

As you plan for Christmas Eve, be intentional. Know your goal. And keep the main thing the main thing.  


I am envious of this Christmas Eve service.  In Australia there are very few churches that would have anything on Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day is often a mediocre affair attended by the miserable few people who couldn’t get away for the holidays.

The resistance to celebrating Christmas at Christmastime is coming from the churches themselves. It’s summer, school holidays, and family time. They claim that nobody from the community will come and they are reinforcing that notion by staying away themselves.

I agree with you that we should put the finishing work of Christ at the centre at Christmas. Now we just need a church service at which to preach it.

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