The essential guide for attending a Christmas service

The observer


By Buro247

The essential guide for attending a Christmas service

Church – or any place of worship – has its own set of rules that may come off as uninviting or intimidating to some. But while Christmas is generally a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, surely you’d be bound to get an invite for a service of some sort – even if you may hold a different belief. Or even if it’s not for Christmas, (i.e. Sunday mass, weddings, funerals, etc) here are your basic rules of navigating a church service.

Your Sunday best

While today’s general acceptance of fashion may be a bit more lax, in terms of how much skin one shows, or how one chooses to express their creative, stylish personalities. Unfortunately, church isn’t the place to do so. It all boils down to respectful clothing and stature. Head to any historical church or cathedral in Europe wearing a tank top and shorts, and it’s likely you’ll be barred from sitting in a service if you aren’t dressed respectfully.

Arriving late

It’s all about stealth mode, should you arrive late for a service. Try to enter the church quietly and observe what is happening. If you enter in the middle of a sermon, a reading, procession, or hymn, wait in the back until it’s finished, to get to a seat… unless, of course, someone from the church ushers you to a seat.

Keeping it down

Talking during service is generally pretty frowned upon. As most people around you would be trying to concentrate on the service, talking would probably interrupt or disturb their thoughts. So to avoid those nasty stares from the people sitting around you, perhaps save the chatter for after the service.

Do what others do

Church services can come off as confusing: there’s a lot of sitting, standing, some walking, and kneeling. So the best way to not end up feeling like a fish out of water is to simply observe and follow what the general congregation are doing: sit when people sit, and stand when people stand. However if you’re not from that denomination, you don’t have to go up to the alter to receive communion, or join in the singing and praying, if you don’t want to.

Don’t feel obligated to participate

By right, nobody should be forcing you do participate in something you’re uncomfortable or unfamiliar with. That goes for all the symbolic actions, singing, praying, and the like – that’s all up to you. No one should be offended by either your respectful lack of participation, or your eagerness to participate as well. 

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