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Source: (consider it) Thread: When Christmas Eve is a Sunday
stonespring
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Christmas Eve is a Sunday this year. Is the norm in most denominations to not have any "Sunday" service that week and to only have the Christmas services that start the evening of Christmas Eve? I know the Nativity, even in non-liturgical denominations, is basically the second-most important yearly observance other than Easter - but it seems odd to not observe the weekly celebration of the Resurrection because the vigil services of Christmas start that evening.

I know the practical reasons to do this - people are not likely to attend a morning service and come back for an evening service (or for a Christmas morning service the next day - although those are often not well attended). In denominations that follow a liturgical calendar, though, it would make sense to me to have a Sunday service, in this year's case the service for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, in the morning that would not need music or much other fuss, and that only a few people need attend, to give Sunday the respect that it is due, and then to have the Christmas services in the evening.

I know that Christmas Eve has its own daytime services in at least the RCC and The US Episcopal Church. Are those services, which are normally as low key as your average weekday Eucharist, so important that when Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday they would trump celebration of the Sunday Eucharist?

I'm no liturgical expert so I'd like to see what other people's knowledge is on what different denominations, or even different congregations within a denomination do when Christmas Eve is a Sunday, and what the rationale is for it other than the pragmatic reasons I stated above.

On a side note, why are there only three Sundays of Advent when Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday? Couldn't Advent start one week earlier to fit four Sundays in?

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Bishops Finger
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Well, the C of E lectionary lists Sunday 24th December thus:

The Fourth Sunday of Advent
Christmas Eve

So, at Our Place (backstreet A-C parish, with a small congregation), we propose the following services:

Sunday 24th December
1030 Holy Communion (from the Reserved Sacrament, as we have no priest-in-charge) with propers for Advent 4 - probably no hymns, and possibly only 3-4 attending:
1700 Crib Service - usually well-attended by young families:
2345 Midnight Mass - maybe only 25-30 people.

Christmas Day
1030 Family Mass with Carols - could be anything up to 50, including children (not necessarily those who were at the Crib Service).

Old service registers show a similar pattern when Christmas Eve/Advent 4 have fallen on the same day in the past.

IJ

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The future is another country - they might do things differently there...

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by stonespring:
Christmas Eve is a Sunday this year. Is the norm in most denominations to not have any "Sunday" service that week and to only have the Christmas services that start the evening of Christmas Eve?

I don’t think I’ve ever heard of the morning services being dropped when the 24th falls on a Sunday. (Sorry—I can’t seem to escape the sound of my father’s voice insisting that Christmas Eve does not start until sunset on the 24th.). It’s certainly not the norm here.

quote:
On a side note, why are there only three Sundays of Advent when Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday? Couldn't Advent start one week earlier to fit four Sundays in?
Advent always starts on the Sunday closest to November 30, which always yields 4 Sundays before a Christmas. There are 4 Sundays in Advent this year—December 3, 10, 17 and 24. The 24th is always the last day of Advent, not the first day of Christmas. The celebration of the Nativity/Incarnation begins on the night of the 24th, not during the day—accommodation of families with young children by having afternoon Christmas Eve services notwithstanding.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Baptist Trainfan
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Usually our Sunday service is 11 am, once a month with another at 6 pm. On Christmas Eve we are seriously considering only having a service at 8 pm, with another in the morning. Certainly we see this year's calendar as a Bit of a Problem.

[ 20. October 2017, 22:13: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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BroJames
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When our normal pattern was 8 & 10 HC and 3.30 (in winter) Evening Prayer, the 8 would be 4th of Advent as would the 10, unless the Sunday school leaders had decided that would be the Nativity play. The 3.30 would be superseded by the Christingle, and the First Eucharist of Christmas would begin at 11.30 pm. OTOH, if Christmas Day fell on a Sunday, the 8.00 and 3.30 would be cancelled.

Evening Prayer was discontinued a few years ago because although everyone thought it was a good idea that it should happen, no one wanted to go to it, but apart from its absence the pattern remains the same.

I think my unfavourite pattern is when Christmas Day falls on a Saturday. After Christmas Eve and Christmas Day it can be hard to get a sense of celebration into St Stephen, or the First Sunday of Christmas on 26th December.

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Oblatus
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The principle of the due celebration of Sundays and holy days would make me think it wrong to simply ignore the Fourth Sunday of Advent; a parish should have at least one service that morning. Can't force people to attend, but it should be available for those who consider it important to do so. I can understand reducing the normal Sunday-morning schedule to just the one service if there normally are several.
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Leorning Cniht
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I looked to see what our place is doing. We're doing our usual trifecta of Christmas services on the 24th (small child crib service with puppets retelling the Christmas story, family Christmas Mass in the early evening, and the smells'n'bells Christmas Mass in the late evening) and our usual single Mass on Christmas morning. We're not doing Advent 4 in the morning - our priest has been pretty ruthless about eliminating poorly-attended services, and probably doesn't want to do four in a day.

I suppose it's possible that Advent 4 will be rolled into the crib service, but I wouldn't bet on it.

I agree with Oblatus that we should properly observe Advent 4, but sympathize with the priest thinking that four services in one day is a bit much.

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Leorning Cniht
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("Our place" is fairly MOTR TEC, for reference.)
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Salicional
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At our PC(USA) shack, which normally has Sunday services at 8:30 & 11:00, we're cancelling the 8:30 this year. Then Christmas Eve services at 7:00 & 10:00, as they always are. I imagine there may be a few in the 8:30 congregation who are upset that their normal Sunday worship time is being eliminated, but hopefully they'll be sympathetic to the fact the four services in one day is a lot to ask of the clergy and musicians.
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Zappa
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Certainly in 30 years of vicarring I never ignored the day masses either when Christmas Eve fell on Friday (more irritating) or a Saturday. I fear it would make the baby jesus howl.

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and mayhap this too: http://broken-moments.blogspot.co.nz/

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Salicional:
At our PC(USA) shack, which normally has Sunday services at 8:30 & 11:00, we're cancelling the 8:30 this year. Then Christmas Eve services at 7:00 & 10:00, as they always are.

I probably should have been clearer in my post above. It doesn’t surprise me at all that churches normally having more than one service on a Sunday morning would have just one on the 24th. I also wouldn’t be surprised at Sunday school being replaced by something like a breakfast or canceled altogether that day. (Sunday school classes for all ages—children and adults—is the norm for pretty much everyone except the Catholics and Orthodox around here.). It’s no morning service at all that would surprise me or seem out of the ordinary.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Salicional
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Yes, I agree...that would be unusual around here too. Although I suspect that more than a few pastors, needing to come up with a good sermon for Christmas Eve, will be tempted to skip a sermon in the morning and replace it with a carol-sing or something like that.
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Bishops Finger
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@ Baptist Trainfan, and perhaps others thinking of not having a Christmas Eve morning service - do make the effort anyway, even if you don't get your usual Sunday morning turn-out.

There'll always be people who, for some reason, can't get to church late on Christmas Eve, or on Christmas morning, so some provision should IMHO be made for them at the usual Sunday morning time.

Perhaps a simpler service than usual, with a couple of Advent hymns, and a couple of Christmas carols? A brief meditation, instead of a sermon?

My tuppenceworth...

IJ

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The future is another country - they might do things differently there...

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Baptist Trainfan
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Yes, worth considering I agree ...

One point is that IME "occasional" churchgoers tend not to think of going to a Nonconformist service. And we know that several of our regulars will have gone to the mysterious land of "away".

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Bishops Finger
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Noted that 'occasionals' may not think of attending a Nonconformist Conventicle, so perhaps some aggressive advertising might help? Not at the expense of sheep-stealing from the local Established Church, of course! [Razz]

'Away' is indeed a popular place. Many of our so-called 'regulars' patronise its fleshpots, mostly at Easter, rather than at Christmas, in all fairness. [Disappointed]

IJ

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The future is another country - they might do things differently there...

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L'organist
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The routine at our place will be:

Saturday 23rd December
5pm Carol Service

Sunday 24th
9.30am Parish Eucharist
5pm Festal Evensong
11.45pm Midnight Mass

Monday 25th
10am "Living Nativity" and family service
11.15am Festal Eucharist

Tuesday 26th
9.30am Eucharist with carols

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Noted that 'occasionals' may not think of attending a Nonconformist Conventicle, so perhaps some aggressive advertising might help? Not at the expense of sheep-stealing from the local Established Church, of course! [Razz]

Actually - and this is different to anywhere else I've been - we probably are the most "high-profile" church as far as the public is concerned, together with the Catholics up the road.

The Anglicans (not Established here of course!) meet in the local CinW school and tend to get families who attend the school, however IMO they're fairly invisible to visitors. I don't know what they'll be doing over Christmas. I suspect that they don't, either, as a new Vicar is coming at the end of November!

I certainly agree about advertising, it's something I'm quite "hot" on.

[ 21. October 2017, 14:30: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Baptist Trainfan
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RE. "Away": Many years ago an Anglican colleague of mine stood up to conduct the service on Christmas morning. He told me later that the congregation was more or less the same size as on a normal Sunday, but that he hardly knew any of them!
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Bishops Finger
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That happened once at Our Place, too. For some reason, our parish was a popular Christmas holiday venue that year... [Eek!]

IJ

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The future is another country - they might do things differently there...

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Cathscats
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Not recognising the congregation happens every Christmas Eve here, when a lot of the regulars are either at that mysterious away place, or in bed before 11 p.m. ( but they don't want the service earlier, because it has "always" been at midnight). Many if not most of those who come are holidaying at a local hotel, or are families of locals who do not attend, but whose offspring like to stay up for Christmas. It's a peculiar opportunity.
(No one asks if the minister, known for her early riding, is really going to be at her best at midnight.....)

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"...damp hands and theological doubts - the two always seem to go together..." (O. Douglas, "The Setons")

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Kayarecee
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The place I serve (and afaik most of my co-denominationalists in other places) are having the regular Advent IV Sunday morning service, and the regular Christmas Eve service. A few of the bigger congregations are condensing multiple Sunday morning services into fewer, but few if any congregations are canceling their morning services outright.

I was actually a little surprised at how sanguine some of my worship committee were about the prospect of Sunday morning and Christmas Eve falling on the same day.

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Bishops Finger
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Well, Advent 4 and Christmas Eve do coincide every few years, so the question of what services to hold will also recur.

I hope, though, that churches (especially the smaller ones, with perhaps only one ordained minister) take into consideration the sheer amount of work - and hours - involved.

We don't have an Early Service (old C-of-E-speak for the once-ubiquitous 8am Communion), but spare a thought for those who still do! 8am, 1030am, 4pm, and 1130pm (say) on Advent 4/Christmas Eve, then 8am and 1030am (say) on Christmas morning, is a heavy workload, no matter how many others may be involved.

Understandably, some curtailment or amalgamation of services is called for.

IJ

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The future is another country - they might do things differently there...

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kingsfold

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As far as we're concerned, morning is Advent 4 and we move onto Christmas Eve in the afternoon. This therefore means we have:

08:30 Said Eucharist
10:30 Sung Eucharist
16:00 Crib Service
18:30 Carol service and finally
23:15 First Mass of Christmas

It's a busy day..... followed by a 10:30 Sung Eucharist on Christmas Day. Exhausting for choir and sacristy/serving team.

[ 21. October 2017, 20:51: Message edited by: kingsfold ]

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And in that light of life I'll walk 'til travelling days are done


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Bishops Finger
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Busy indeed, and interesting to see that you have your Carol Service on Christmas Eve, too.

Round here, the usual practice is to have the Carol Service on the Sunday before Christmas i.e. Advent 3 this year, which spreads the load a bit!

IJ

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The future is another country - they might do things differently there...

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mousethief

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Can I barge in and ask a question? As someone who hasn't been Protestant in many years, and who never was in charge of planning services even when I was, what is noteworthy about Christmas Eve falling on a Sunday?

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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Gramps49
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Our schedule of services (Trinity Lutheran, Pullman, WA USA) will be as follows

10:30 AM Advent 4 Eucharist Service
7:30 PM Family Christmas Eve Service

Remember, the church clock goes from sunset to sunset, not from 12:00 midnight. So any service before sunset on 24 December would be an Advent Service, any service of after sunset would be Christmas eve service.

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gog
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Can I barge in and ask a question? As someone who hasn't been Protestant in many years, and who never was in charge of planning services even when I was, what is noteworthy about Christmas Eve falling on a Sunday?

The main question comes from how the normal Sunday services get balanced with the Christmas Eve service, and which of them takes precedence for the day. Also the other question around in some places being able to staff and sort all the different services.
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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by gog:
The main question comes from how the normal Sunday services get balanced with the Christmas Eve service, and which of them takes precedence for the day. Also the other question around in some places being able to staff and sort all the different services.

Part two here makes perfect sense. But if there's no regular Sunday Evening service, that at least wouldn't conflict with a "midnight" service, however long before midnight it's held. How many churches have services earlier in the day on Christmas Eve, and how early are we talking?

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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Bishops Finger
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If Christmas Eve were to fall on a weekday or Saturday, we would have our usual 930am service (either Morning Prayer or Eucharist), followed by preparation of the church for the 5pm Crib Service and 1145pm Midnight Mass.

The 930am service would use whatever lections etc. prescribed for 24th December that year.

A church with no daily services might simply mark Christmas Eve with their customary afternoon or evening services.

IJ

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The future is another country - they might do things differently there...

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Part two here makes perfect sense. But if there's no regular Sunday Evening service, that at least wouldn't conflict with a "midnight" service, however long before midnight it's held. How many churches have services earlier in the day on Christmas Eve, and how early are we talking?

With us, it's 5:00 and 11:00. The 5:00 service will be packed, the 11:00 service less so. In the church of my youth, it was 8:00 only.

Some of the larger churches around here have services at 5:00/5:30, 7:30/8:00 and 11:00/11:30. There’s one church nearby that also has a service at 3:30, geared to families with really small children.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Can I barge in and ask a question? As someone who hasn't been Protestant in many years, and who never was in charge of planning services even when I was, what is noteworthy about Christmas Eve falling on a Sunday?

TBH, I think the main issue is whether worshippers are going to turn up to morning services two days in a row. In many congregations the likelihood of decent numbers is low, so the clergy and their assistants will be disinclined to hold a full-blown Sunday service.

As for me, I'd rather like to attend an evening service on 24 December this year, so I hope I'm not travelling at the time.

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Ian Climacus

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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:

10am "Living Nativity" and family service

What is a "Living Nativity" service?
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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Ian Climacus:
quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:

10am "Living Nativity" and family service

What is a "Living Nativity" service?
Maybe I misunderstood, but I took L'organist to mean a living nativity scene (live people and animals) and a family service.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Ian Climacus

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Oh! That makes sense. Thank you.

My mind was going to some deeply spiritual meditation... [Help]

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Can I barge in and ask a question? As someone who hasn't been Protestant in many years, and who never was in charge of planning services even when I was, what is noteworthy about Christmas Eve falling on a Sunday?

TBH, I think the main issue is whether worshippers are going to turn up to morning services two days in a row. In many congregations the likelihood of decent numbers is low, so the clergy and their assistants will be disinclined to hold a full-blown Sunday service.
Yes, that's exactly the point for me.
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stonespring
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Does the RCC consider a Sunday that coincides with December 4 to be the 4th Sunday of Advent?

Mousethief, I know that the Russian and some other Orthodox Churches celebrate Christmas later, but when the day before Christmas coincides with a Sunday, do the Orthodox do exactly what would be done otherwise on the Sunday before Christmas, with maybe some of the evening things omitted or changed?

I am surprised based on your descriptions how many people attend services on Christmas Day (the 25th), at least in the UK. Here in the US, based on my observation, Christmas Day masses in RC churches can get a decent attendance, but nowhere near as many as attend the "family" services around 5 pm Christmas Eve (those tend to be overflowing). Midnight Mass in RC parishes rarely happens at midnight, and is generally less attended than the 5 pm service but more attended than Christmas Day service (although there is some variation).

In the US Episcopal Parishes I have attended, the 5 pm-ish service on Christmas Eve is still the best attended, followed by whatever nighttime/midnight service there may be. The Christmas Day service often has no choir and is just congregational singing of carols, and is often not very well attended.

Quite a few non-liturgical churches (but of course not all), especially the more evangelical ones, in the US do not have Christmas Day services at all, and sometimes say that this is so the pastor can spend time with his/her family. I doubt many people would come to a Christmas Day service even if they held one. Where there is a Christmas Eve service in these churches, it is either an afternoon family service, an evening Candlelight Service, or both. Often the Nativity Pageant Service or Nativity Scene Service done on the 1 or 2 Sundays before Christmas is the best attended "Christmas" service at these congregations, and the one with the biggest productions with music, etc.

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
TBH, I think the main issue is whether worshippers are going to turn up to morning services two days in a row. In many congregations the likelihood of decent numbers is low, so the clergy and their assistants will be disinclined to hold a full-blown Sunday service.

Yes, that's exactly the point for me.
I think here, it's more whether people will turn up for two services in one day. Most non-Catholic churches around here don't seem to have a service on Christmas morning. Of those that do (usually Episcopal or maybe Lutheran or Presbyterian), Christmas morning services typically are not as well attended as Christmas Eve services.

That’s why last year was the year lots of churches around here were having a discussion similar to the one in this thread. I know of some churches that cancelled the Sunday service because it fell on Christmas.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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SvitlanaV2
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That's interesting. In Britain Christmas morning is traditionally a time when people attend church who wouldn't do so otherwise, so for churches (mainstream Protestant ones at least) not to have services at that time would seem very strange.

Mind you, I'm wondering if things have started to change in recent years. It's possible that Advent services are now more popular than Christmas day services. I think this is because both regulars and visitors are more likely to attend during Advent, whereas the regulars are often away for Christmas day, and Christmas day visitors are fewer in number than they used to be.

[ 22. October 2017, 12:34: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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Baptist Trainfan
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I've often felt that the Sunday a week or so before Christmas is "bigger" than Christmas itself - may be different, of course, in all the lovely places that people go away "to"!

Same is true of Palm Sunday/Easter IME. Which is a shame.

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Forthview
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Stonespring with his wide experience of both RC and Episcopal church must surely know that in the RC church at least the four Sundays before Christmas are the four Advent Sundays and that these Sundays,each and every one ,are important Sundays,liturgically speaking - Sundays which cannot be replaced by any other celebration.

(That being said pope Francis gave permission a few years ago for the Immaculate Conception to be celebrated on what was the Second Sunday of Advent - but only in Italy, where 8th December is a major public holiday).

Thus Sunday 24th December is the Fourth Sunday of Advent in the Roman liturgy with that liturgy being celebrated from the Saturday evening to the Sunday evening.

Christmas Eve as such is not really a big deal,liturgically,in the RC church,though the celebration of the Nativity can be,as is the case every Sunday or Holiday of Obligation, anticipated from the afternoon of the previous day.

Anticipated Masses of Christmas day are now very popular,particularly with people with young families.There are often as many as 2,000 people at the late afternoon Mass in the RC cathedral in the town where I live. There are probably not as many at the Midnight Mass in the same cathedral.

Christmas morning is still a popular time for RC services and there is usually standing room only in our parish church on Christmas morning.

Over 50 years ago here in Scotland Presbyterian churches did not celebrate Christmas as a religious festival and 25th December was an ordinary working day, although it was a great family festival. Since the 1950s many Presbyterian churches (but not all !) have celebrated well attended 'Watchnight' services of carols and a good number will now also have a short family service on Christmas morning. Just as the Catholic 'midnight' Mass is now often anticipated at various times on the evening of Christmas Eve so also do some Presbyterian churches have services at some point in the evening.

Episcopal churches,on the whole, do the same as Catholic churches.

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Bishops Finger
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The traditional Anglican Midnight (or thereabouts) Mass does seem to have lost its appeal in this area, though most churches continue to hold one. I wonder whether perhaps an earlier service e.g. 8pm might not be a better idea...

Our Place has seen attendance drop from around 50 to about 30 in recent years, with Christmas morning increasing a bit (except for last year, when everyone went to Away).

A neighbouring parish has a fairly well-attended Midnight Service, with a said 9am BCP Communion on Christmas morning as the only service on that day. Last year, attendance at 9am was priest + 2.

IJ

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
That's interesting. In Britain Christmas morning is traditionally a time when people attend church who wouldn't do so otherwise, so for churches (mainstream Protestant ones at least) not to have services at that time would seem very strange.

That’s Christmas Eve here*, at least for non-Catholic churches. I can’t speak to the RC dynamic.

Here, Christmas Eve is A Big Deal churchwise. Churches will likely be full or close to, good music will be planned, candles will abound, folks will dress up, and you’ll see lots of people who otherwise don’t come to church.

Christmas morning services, for those churches that have them, will be less well attended and will likely be more informal. (Children are encouraged to come in their pajamas to ours.) There may not be a choir. Those who do attend will likely have been at a Christmas Eve service the night before. I think as a general rule, the home rather than the church is considered the locus of Christmas Day celebrations.


* By “here,” I mean my corner of the American South. Things could well be different in other parts of the country.

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quote:
On a side note, why are there only three Sundays of Advent when Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday? Couldn't Advent start one week earlier to fit four Sundays in?

Not for the first time, this is a thread that has already built up by the time I come across it, so I apologise if I inadvertently repeat anything that has already been said earlier on.

Who said there are only three Sundays in Advent this year, with Christmas Eve itself falling on a Sunday?

Last year in 2016, Christmas Day itself fell on a Sunday, when the most could be made of Advent IV, allowing for the full week to occur, of all seven days in Advent, before Christmas was upon us. This year of 2017, the reverse occurs, so that only minimal use of Sunday Advent IV can be made, so that this Sunday becomes the only day of the fourth week of Advent. So in any year, the length of the fourth week in Advent, is shorter or longer (with more or fewer days) depending on the fall of December dates with days of the week in that year.

But Advent in every year has all four Sundays. If it coincides with Christmas Eve, as it does this year, then that Sunday becomes two liturgical days, making it Advent IV in the morning and Christmas Eve in the afternoon and evening. This of course, has its effects, very likely causing smaller morning congregations that Sunday.

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As a child I would have found it very strange to go to church on Christmas Day. The Midnight service was the one we went to (not until I was old enough, though).
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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
The traditional Anglican Midnight (or thereabouts) Mass does seem to have lost its appeal in this area, though most churches continue to hold one. I wonder whether perhaps an earlier service e.g. 8pm might not be a better idea...

Our Place has seen attendance drop from around 50 to about 30 in recent years, with Christmas morning increasing a bit (except for last year, when everyone went to Away).

A neighbouring parish has a fairly well-attended Midnight Service, with a said 9am BCP Communion on Christmas morning as the only service on that day. Last year, attendance at 9am was priest + 2.

IJ

Interesting - the opposite seems to be the case where I live in North London with all the Christmas Eve services (Crib and Midnight Mass, and Vigil Mass for Catholics) packed but quieter on Christmas morning though a few churches have started having carols at the 8am which is rather nice.
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Bishops Finger
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Well, it's clearly different for other places!

Our 5pm Christmas Eve Crib Service has gone from strength to strength in recent years, but I think this may simply reflect the changing demographics of the parish - more young families, and fewer older people.

Over the past few months, we've had a number of people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds join us, so I'll be interested to see what Christmas services they choose to attend. The result may give us an indication of what changes, if any, to make next year.

Personally, I'd prefer to have a 'First Mass of Christmas' at 8pm on Christmas Eve, so that we'd at least get a reasonable break before 1030am on Christmas Day, but we have reactionaries who believe that the Christmas Gospel (i.e. the Johannine Prologue) must be read at midnight on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day, or else It Is Not Valid.

I'm serious... [Eek!]

IJ

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Baptist Trainfan
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And you can only sing "It came upon a midnight clear" at the witching hour. [Devil]

Mind you, I'd steer clear of using it at an 8am early morning service without very good reason.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Personally, I'd prefer to have a 'First Mass of Christmas' at 8pm on Christmas Eve, so that we'd at least get a reasonable break before 1030am on Christmas Day.

Ha! We'll get you into the One True Church yet! [Cool]
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Bishops Finger
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LOL!

I started off in what might then be described as a conservative/open Evangelical C of E parish (though currently it is charismatic-evo), but quite how I've found myself ministering in a backstreet A-C parish*, I have no idea.

I am told that God has a GSOH.

IJ

*which I love dearly, and wouldn't change for worlds, even if they were to be smothered in mustard.

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Of course,in what I consider to be the principal part of the 'One True Church' the Gospel at Midnight Mass is that telling of the birth of the Messiah and the song of the Angels. The Gospel at the Second Mass (Missa in Aurora/Dawn Mass/Shepherds' Mass while the Gospel at the Mass of the Day is the Prologue of St John.
The Gospel for the Anticipated Vigil Mass is about the Genealogy of Jesus from St Matthew.

These are the traditional readings for these days, however nowadays the rubrics for the evening of 24th December say :
'This Mass is celebrated on the evening of 24th December,either before,or after First Vespers (Evening Prayer I) of the Nativity
The readings may be used also for Masses on Christmas Day,with the option of choosing from one or other of the three sets of readings ACCORDING TO THE PASTORAL NEEDS OF EACH CONGREGATION.'

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