Christmas has gained popularity in China in recent years. The avenues and alleys of big cities are festive at Christmastime. However, Christmas Eve is observed as a "carnival night" in many places, which fails to bring positive energy to people and leads to social instability.
Five things Christians should avoid on Christmas Eve.
Christmas Eve is not a carnival night.
There is a radical distinction between Christmas Eve and a carnival night. From the religious perspective, a carnival night has an association with Easter. For Christians, no entertainment or meat are allowed during the forty day long Lenten season before Easter. Usually, this is for reflection and prayer to honor the passion of Jesus.
"Carnival" occurs in the first three days before the liturgical season in the Western civil society. The main celebrations take place during late February. Excessive consumption of alcohol, orgies, and dances are major features. Carnival in Mexico is a famous one. Some people even break the law. The church should resist such activities.
Arguments should be avoided.
Debates on whether Christmas should be celebrated or not appeared in the church long ago. The opponents' evidence is that we should not celebrate Christmas since the Bible doesn't record the specific date of Jesus' birth. An argument in favor of Christmas is that the celebration is to express our faith and tell the world about the birth of Jesus.
All in all, people who celebrate Christmas should not criticize those who don't and vice versa.
The stage on Christmas Eve is not about shows.
A flood of people rush into churches on Christmas Eve, but the party should never be a performance of talents. Instead, it's a special performance about Jesus.
A believer in my church rarely goes to church the rest of the year, but she is active in the preparation for Christmas shows. In a Christmas Eve party, she sang almost half of the solos, claiming to sing songs for Jesus. Finally, she was asked to step off the stage by the host.
It's not a day to grab seats.
The church is crowded with thousands of people in the evening, so there may not be enough seats for every participant. A lot of people come to the church early to get a seat and even save a number of seats.
Christians should leave as many seats as possible for newcomers as servants of seekers.
Don't be lazy.
Normally people have a rest on holidays, but Christmas Eve is a chance to work for God. Maybe the festival is the only opportunity to attract people to the church. Invite your relatives and friends to visit the church on this special day.
- Translated by Karen Luo