When Christmas falls on a Sunday, it is a rather unusual event. I wonder if many people even remember the last time or even where they were when Christmas fell on a Sunday. I had to look up those dates: 2011, 2005, 1994, 1988, 1983, 1977, 1966, 1960, 1955, 1949, 1938, 1932, 1927, 1921, 1910, and 1904. Christmas falls on a Sunday during the regular intervals taking into account the leap years. The entire cycle takes 28 years. Within that cycle, Christmas will fall on a Sun-day in 11 years, then 6 years, then 5 years, and then 6 years again. We are completing this cycle in 2016, and then we will begin another cycle in the years of 2022, 2033, 2039, 2044 and 2050.
Looking back at the years when Christmas fell on a Sunday, I realize I have only been alive through five of them, or six if you count the year my mom was pregnant with my twin sister and I in 1966. In 1977, I was 10 years old when my WV friends and I made our own float for the Pineville Christmas parade. The Irish setter we had dressed up to be Rudolph and pull the wagon was long gone before the parade ever began. In 1988 I had just graduated college that December and Doug completed his first semester at Duke Divinity School. We were one week away from getting married. I received a rolling pin that year. I’m still not sure if that was for baking or keeping Doug in line?
In 1994 there was no greater gift for us than to welcome our first born Jordan into the world. Both of her great grandmothers were still alive. She was just 5 months old as we held her in worship. In 2005 I was serving Jordan Memorial UMC in Ramseur. Someone brought a guitar and mandolin. Others brought a song or story to share. We had a “down home” country Christmas Day service. The last time Christmas fell on a Sunday was in 2011. I was serving as the pastor at Sandy Ridge UMC in High Point. Our daughters were still in High School. We had a 10:00am service at Doug’s church and a 3:00pm service at my church so our family could attend both services. My youngest daughter received a saxophone that year so she was able to play her first song in the afternoon service!
I don’t remember every detail of those years that Christmas fell on a Sunday, but I do know where I was at the time. Since my father was a pastor as well as my husband, I know one thing – we were in church. Spending time in worship celebrating the birth of Jesus as a community of faith on Christmas Day can be a most precious and humbling experience.
I invite you to join me as we mark this special year when Christmas falls on a Sunday. We will be having a 10:30am worship service on December 25th . We will also be having a Christmas Eve service on December 24th at 9:00pm. I also thought it would be fun to share some snap-shots of where you were when Christmas fell on a Sunday as part of our “A.D.vent Project.” You are welcome to post your photos on the bulletin board in the hallway. Please consider sharing those stories in worship on December 25th. We hope you will bring your whole family that morning to worship that morning. Just remember if you miss going to church on Christmas Day, the next time you might have an opportunity will be all the way until 2022!