In the Christian church world, Christmas Eve is the Super Bowl. It's the celebration of the birth of the Savior of the world. It's a month long building of events and concerts and plays and markets and parties and dinners, all culminating in THE EVENT, Christmas Eve.
Keep in mind that people who work at a church also have families, and family parties, and neighbors and traditions, and school events, and shopping and all the things everyone else has to do. (Yes, I know other people have jobs at Christmastime, but trust me, it's different! I've been on both sides of the fence. It's different!)
And when your family is dressing up all cute and feeling all warm and snuggly and festive as you attend the Christmas Eve service together, keep in mind that the folks who work at the church are attending ALL of the services while their family is most likely at home, celebrating without them, or "making the most of" the fact that their family member isn't there with them.
And they've probably been there for hours getting ready for the service. No details have been left to chance. The candles, the music, the lights, the message. It's all been thought about for a long time. Even if your church does it simply, it's still a massive undertaking for the staff.
Why am I writing all of this? It's not because I'm counting my blessings that I don't work in a church anymore. I loved working there and often miss it. (Well, parts of it.)
I'm writing this because this Christmas I want you to cut your church staff some slack. I want you to shower them with grace. I want you to withhold how you wish they'd put real trees up instead of artsy lighted tree branches. And don't feel the need to critique the marketing of the Women's Christmas dinner that you missed. I want you to be thankful that there WAS a Children's Choir performance and that your child got to sing in it, even if they didn't have a solo.
I want you to appreciate that someone had to set up and tear down and set up and tear down and set up and tear down the insane amount of extra events that people seem to want to plan AT church at Christmastime.
Please, take the time to send them a card and write a meaningful note in it. Not just for your Senior Pastor (though he's clearly important) but to any staff member that you interact with regularly. Or give them a gift card (even it's $5 to Starbucks) or just do something nice for them! Mow their yard. I don't know and it doesn't really matter. Just be thoughtful is my point.
And best of all, when they ask you to, or better yet, BEFORE they ask, volunteer to serve. You'll have plenty of chances. There will be Children's events and Student events and Women's events, and OF COURSE Christmas Eve.
All that to say, this Christmas, let your church staff (if you have one) inhale the beauty of the season by helping them a little bit more.