A few years back the local Portland, OR news glommed onto a minor scandal. That year Christmas day fell on a Sunday, and across the city large evangelical churches were canceling services. Reporters–all too eager to abandon their beat at the mall food court interviewing stressed out shoppers–tracked down pastors from the city's largest churches. The pastors' responses to questions about service cancellation on Christmas were nearly unanimous: "Christmas is an important holiday for families and we want to respect that."
One report segued to Dr. Paul Metzger, a Professor of Theology at Multnomah Bible College, for commentary. He said it was ironic that Christians would cancel church to celebrate their Lord's birth. He went on to describe this as a capitulation to a culture that has turned the Christian calendar into occasions for consumption. And he concluded by reminding viewers that familial loyalty, when prioritized over the church, can all too easily become a kind of idolatry. Christmas ...1