I’m thrilled that Christmas falls on a Sunday this year. Christmas is a holy day. What could be better than celebrating the incarnation of the Lord on the Lord’s Day with the Lord’s people? Our church is planning a Christmas Sunday morning service that is around an hour in length. I’ll be sharing a fifteen-minute homily (short sermon), and will be cutting out a few “optional” parts of the liturgy. But one thing that I won’t cut is the Lord’s Supper. It will be the absolute center of our Christmas celebration.
First, we should share the Lord’s Supper on Christmas Sunday because we should share it every Sunday of the year as a central act of worship. At least weekly communion is the apostolic and historic Christian practice. It’s a myth that the Bible has nothing to say about the frequency of communion. See John Wesley’s sermon on “The Duty of Constant Communion” and my article on “How Often Should We Receive The Lord’s Supper?”
Christmas is a celebration of the Son’s incarnation in a physical body, which is signified by the physical bread and wine of the Eucharist.
Second, we should share the Lord’s Supper on Christmas Sunday because Christmas is a celebration of the Son’s incarnation in a physical body, which is signified by the physical bread and wine of the Eucharist. Christmas is a celebration of the incarnation; the Eucharist is incarnational. At Christmas, the Son assumed a body that we could see and touch; in the Eucharist, the Son offers his body and blood in bread and wine that we can see and touch. Christmas, a day that celebrates the invisible God made visible, is a fitting time to administer the visible sign of the Lord’s Supper.
“Christmas” literally means “mass (the Lord’s Supper) on Christ’s day.”
Third, we should share the Lord’s Supper on Christmas Sunday because “Christmas” literally means “mass (the Lord’s Supper) on Christ’s day.” Though we usually associate the word “mass” with Roman Catholicism, it’s used in some Lutheran and Anglican churches, and doesn’t change the point. It seems strange to let a day go by that’s called by the name of the Eucharist without actually celebrating the Eucharist—especially in light of the reasons given above.
Many Christians get riled up about “X-mas” taking the Christ out of Christmas, not realizing that “X” is a historic Christian abbreviation. Yet few are concerned about taking the mass out of Christ-mas, and are perfectly content to observe one of the church’s holy days without the church or the sacrament.
This Christmas Sunday, the Christ of Christmas has offered to be present with us at his Table. How could we neglect such an invitation? May your eucharistic feast be marked by joy and peace as you celebrate the Feast of the Nativity.