Study: 84% of Protestant churches will meet for worship on Christmas

by Seth Udinski

Seth Udinski, FISM News


In 2022, Christians will ask a unique question that only comes about every seven years: “Since Christmas Day falls on a Sunday, will we attend Sunday worship services?”

According to a recently released poll from LifeWay Research, the majority of Protestant churches in the United States will hold worship services on December 25. The poll found that 84% of pastors in the United States plan to hold Christmas Day worship services at their church, compared to only 71% who plan to hold Christmas Eve services.

For most Protestant churches in most years, Christmas Eve is the standard day to hold worship gatherings for the Christmas holiday. But in 2022, since Christmas falls on a Sunday, more churches plan to hold Christmas Day services over Christmas Eve services.

About 60% of those churches polled are planning to hold worship services on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, said about the poll’s findings,

Families have many traditions on Christmas morning, and most pastors acknowledge not as many of their members will be present compared to Christmas Eve and services earlier in the month. However, churches not holding services on Christmas Day are still the exception.

The poll also explored the question of churches holding New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day services.

New Year’s Day 2023, which also falls on a Sunday, came in slightly higher than Christmas with 85% of churches planning to hold services. But with no connection to the holiday of New Year’s either from biblical history or church history, only 21% of churches are meeting on New Year’s Eve. Only 16% said they plan to hold services on both days.

The findings note that some predominately African American churches do recognize the New Year’s holiday and will be more likely to hold services on that day since New Year’s Day coincides with the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.