Megachurches won't hold Sunday services December 25
While Christian groups are warring to make sure that business and government workers say "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays," one place you won't hear either greeting this December 25 is at many of the largest churches in the country.

That's because, the Lexington Herald-Leader and Chicago Tribune report, the churches won't be open that day. Now, in most years, that wouldn't be terribly surprising: Protestant church offices have closed Christmas day since the time of the Puritans (who closed churches that day both to distinguish themselves from Roman Catholics and in protest of the bacchanal that Christmas celebrations had become in the early 18th century).

But this year, Christmas falls on a Sunday, the day when most churches (excepting those of Sabbatarians and a few others) hold services. Not this year.

Willow Creek Community Church (near Chicago), Southland Christian Church (near Lexington, Ky.), Mars Hill Bible Church (near Grand Rapids, Michigan), North Point Community Church (in Alpharetta, Ga.), and Fellowship Church (near Dallas) are among the churches hanging up a "closed" sign after their many Christmas Eve services. The five churches have a combined weekly attendance of more than 64,500.

And, yes, it's a conspiracy. "Megachurch officials around the country consulted with each other before deciding to take the day off," reports the Herald-Leader.

The reason?

"It's more than being family-friendly," Willow Creek spokeswoman Cally Parkinson told the Herald-Leader. It's being lifestyle-friendly for people who are just very, very busy."

Not offering services on a day that almost ...

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Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's managing editor for news and online journalism. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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