You can learn a lot about a church’s theology of worship by watching what it does at Christmas time.
If, at center stage, you have the manger, and the Savior who condescended to become sin for us, you can deduce that this church believes that the point of worship is to exalt Christ.
But if, at center stage, you have sentimentality, and all the warm traditions, then you can deduce that this church believes that the point of worship is to be sentimental.
You can have pageants and concerts and Christmas tree lightings that are designed to present the Gospel and exalt Christ, and you can have pageants and concert and Christmas tree lightings that are designed to evoke that “sentimental feeling”. The issue is not what medium the church chooses, but rather what message the church preaches.
What Christmas reveals in churches is what (and whom) they choose to exalt when they sing, or when they have a concert, or when they have an elaborate pageant with real-life donkeys and sheep. And the primary choice for churches and the worship leaders who serve them is whether, at this holiday season, to center themselves and their events and their songs around a manger or around a snow globe.
A manger is dirty. It makes us uncomfortable. It forces us to see that God came down as far as he could, into the smelliness and dirtiness of this world because we couldn’t rescue ourselves from that lowly place even if we tried. And boy do we try.
A snow globe is pretty. It makes you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. But after you shake it around for a few minutes, it gets old and loses its novelty. The fake snow hits the ground and you put it back on the shelf until next year when you repeat the same fleeting cycle again.
What Christmas reveals is whether or not your church invites people to look upon a Savior, or look upon a show. The show will last for 2 hours. The Savior will change their life.