It’s that time of year when your Christmas shopping needs to be winding down. Who’s on your “Still Needs A Gift” list? Well, if you’re trying to figure out what to get your Atheist friends this Christmas – fret no more! Turns out that the American Atheists Organization has been advertising what they want for Christmas. They want you to “Skip Church – just be good for goodness’ sake”.
That’s right you can gift the perfect gift this Christmas by simply skipping church. Isn’t it ironic that Atheist assume people actually go to church at Christmas time? This may surprise you but less than 20% of America’s population regularly attends church – the actual figure is more like 18%. So it seems that we’ve already been working on gift wrapping our Atheist friends the gift they most desire for Christmas.
But ask yourself – Is that really what you want to give – the gift of skipping church? I know the church has caught a bum rap over the years. Yes there have been public moral meltdowns of high profile leaders. But is that really the reason we’re not attending church? Think about it!
An Associated press seven-month investigation found 2,570 educators whose teaching credentials were revoked, denied, surrendered or sanctioned from 2001 through 2005 following allegations of sexual misconduct. Have we stopped supporting schools or education? Public officials are often reported for misuse of funds – but we still support the need for government. So maybe the reason we’re not going to church this Christmas has nothing to do with scandal or misconduct within the church – maybe the reason we’re not going has to do with our hearts.
I think the reason we don’t regularly attend church is because it hurts our hearts. In a large majority of churches – truth – God’s truth – is spoken. When we go to church we hear the truth about our anger issues, our marriages, our “can’t do anything wrong” children, our greed, and our bitterness. The truth about these issues is a hard pill to swallow. Going to church forces us to pretend we’re perfect or admit our brokenness. The truth forces us to admit that change is needed and current lifestyles cannot continue.
Change comes hard for most people. It requires effort. It requires an admission of failure. That’s where the rubber meets the road. We’d rather continue in failed efforts than to put forth the effort to change. So in order to avoid the guilt and pain of our own heart – we avoid church.
So this Christmas maybe it’s time to stop gift wrapping gifts for your Atheist friends and give yourself and Jesus a different kind of gift. Instead of skipping church – start attending church! I think you’ll find the change rather refreshing!