Amid mounting criticism, the Rev. Jon Weese of central Kentucky's largest church said that, in canceling worship on Christmas Sunday, its elders "chose to value families; people over policy."
Officials at Southland Christian Church said they received protests from hundreds of Christians across the nation when word of the closed-on-Christmas decision was reported in the media.
In a sermon interrupted by applause and one standing ovation, Weese said: "I was deeply saddened by the knee-jerk response of the Christian community as a whole to give the benefit of the doubt to the media and not a church or a Christian brother."
"I'm still troubled that more Christians did not stand up for us," he said, and "illogical, ill-informed and even hypocritical arguments" had been aimed at him.
Weese said that in Jewish and biblical tradition, Sunday begins at sundown Saturday and his church is holding Christmas Eve services. He said Jesus, too, was criticized for breaking tradition and faced critics who "emphasized religion over relationship."
Weese said "Christmas began as a pagan holiday to the Roman gods" and anyway, Jesus was most likely born in January or April.
Protestant megachurches in other states are also canceling Sunday worship because it falls on Christmas. Traditionally, even those Protestant churches that do not schedule Christmas Day services will do so when it falls on a Sunday.
Um, OK. I know I've written some about this before, but this is kind of ridiculous. Let's start with "Sunday begins at Sundown Saturday". Um, yeah. That's why Catholics have the Saturday vigil Masses every week. But it finishes on Sunday . And while vigil services are great for other weeks, this is Christmas . It's the Incarnation of God. And I think it's a bit rich to cast this off by saying that Jesus was born in January or April anyway, so it does't matter. Excuse me? It doesn't matter when Christmas falls, you celebrate Christmas on Christmas day, or at least make the effort . And I won't even go into the part about how Jesus put more emphasis on relationships than on the observance of the Sabbath. Jesus was an observant Jew . I'm sure He wouldn't have been too thrilled in the Synagogue cancelled services for say, Rosh Hashanah, or Yom Kippur, or Passover, or Sukkot, or whatever. There are two BIG Christian holidays: Christmas, Easter. If you don't celebrate those, then what exactly are you celebrating? Let's not try to pass this off. You have at least one Christmas service on Christmas Day. It's just the way it is. And this pastor's excuses are pretty specious.