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Church To Close On Christmas (Seriously)

By Scott Smith in News on Dec 6, 2005 3:20PM

Quick: name the two times of year most people go to church. If you said Christmas and Easter then you win a gold star and a holy card as the nuns used to say. But if you to go Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington this Christmas, you’re going to see a big ol’ “Closed” sign on the door.

2005_12_06_closed.gifIn an effort to get its members to focus on a more personal Christmas experience at home, Willow Creek is asking its members to stay home and spend the day with their families. The Tribune reports that senior pastor Rev. Gene Appel said “The best way to honor the birth of Jesus is for families to have a more personal experience on that day."

If you’re familiar with the tenets of evangelicalism, the idea isn’t as crazy as it sounds. In addition to believing that the Bible is the single, infallible source of religious authority, they also encourage evangelism. Evangelism involves sharing your beliefs with others through either organized missionary work or just sitting around having coffee with others and telling them that Jesus is awesome. So if the church is closed on Christmas then the congregation will go out that day and spread the good word to their families, friends, and other loved ones. Totally makes sense.

Except…do you remember the last time someone brought up religion during dinner with your relatives? How did that go? Yeah, that’s what we thought.

Plus, this quote from church spokesperson, Cally Parkinson, struck us as odd:

“Christmas tends to be the one time of year when lots of those `unchurched' people show up at Willow; why not give them a gift?"

So hang on: you reward people for coming to church by…not making them come to church?

Chicagoist is glad to hear that most other churches will be open on Christmas. Since it falls on a Sunday this year, it’s like a holy 2 for 1 deal. We’re sure this is going to make a lot of people happy including some of the Catholics we know who think that if the wedding mass takes place after 5 PM on a Saturday then you’ve met your obligation for the week.