I see a note on Fox News regarding the closure of services on Christmas in many churches.
I hold Calvin’s position, which I would also say is the Bible’s position (elucidated in Col. 2:16-17 and Romans 14:5-6, and other places), that no day is religiously different than any other. We cancel services occasionally in a small church like mine for various reasons, including the services this last Sunday because power was out due to a storm. I don’t really see why, if most of your congregation is going to be gone from church for family reasons, it would be of itself sinful to cancel services. Unwise perhaps, but not sinful. We would never say that an individual family is sinning by being gone one Sunday because of travel. So if the church collectively makes that same decision when a large majority of the church is traveling, why is that different?
It seems to me to say otherwise is to run the risk of falling into a ceremonial view of the Lord’s day. I believe the appointment of Sunday, one day in seven, for worship is an ordinance of the church for the purposes of good order. I believe that the individual believer has a duty to support the church, to be present for the stated meetings of the church, and not to neglect public worship. The individual believer is also to submit to the ordinances of the church. But to make a day like Christmas into a “holy day”, or to make the first day of the week a “holy day” and then judge others for observing that day differently, I believe is to fall afoul of Paul’s instruction to us in Colossians 2:16-17:
16 Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day–
17 things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.
UPDATE: I want to make it clear what I’m not saying. Some of those canceling their services are quoted saying things like “you don’t have to be at church to worship” which, while true in one sense, serves to denigrate the importance of the public worship service. That is not my position at all. The Sunday services are of great importance and should be regarded as such by every believer.
My point is that canceling services on Christmas for valid reasons should be regarded as religiously no different as canceling services on any other day for equally valid reasons.