Let's Stop Lecturing Once-a-Year Churchgoers

Reverend: Instead, we should celebrate they're still coming
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2010 10:05 AM CST
Many Christians go to church only at Christmas, and that's OK, says one reverend.   (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)

(Newser) – The Rev. Scott Black Johnston knows his church will be packed tomorrow night with people who attend only once a year at Christmastime. But he's not bemoaning the fact—he's celebrating it, especially in an age where more young people than ever claim no faith. "Instead of wagging our fingers, what we really should do is marvel—at the fact that, in spite of our scandals, our hypocrisy, and our ineptitude, people will still darken our doors on Christmas Eve," Black Johnston writes in the Wall Street Journal.

Sure, lots of people will attend out of nostalgia, or courtesy to grandma, or for the music, but that doesn't fully explain the crowded pews. Black Johnston thinks something deeper is going on, something that gets to the "core of religion"—an "expectation that something momentous is going to happen when we gather," he writes. "They will come to see if angels are going to show up and proclaim (once again) that there is a God who loves us and that heaven's great desire for us is peace." Even if they are a little tipsy.

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