Churches are always packed on Christmas, with non-Christians who desire to celebrate Christmas attending. However, another group should not be ignored, namely, “Chreasters.”
The number of “Chreasters,” those "Christians" who only attend church on Christmas and Easter cannot be calculated through survey, but the phenomenon is quite common. Some pastors say, “Almost all the back rows in the church are empty in ordinary Sunday services, but they are full on Christmas Eve. Even more chairs cannot hold the extra people and aisles are crowded with many people.” A Catholic priest also confesses that many Catholics seldom go to mass, while mainly attending church on Christmas.
A sister tells me that she, no longer a churchgoer, just attends church on Christmas Eve. Rarely seen in church, a brother who has been baptized, goes to church with his mother every Christmas to please her. What is more surprising is that I encountered some of my acquaintances at a Christmas celebration. Until then, I realized that they who did not seem like Christians who believe in Jesus.
This is just a tiny amount of what happens on the surface. They share some common identities. Most of “Chreasters” are young and middle-aged who are occupied with work, and they no longer practice the Christian faith. They go to church once a year on Christmas, which is considered as “fulfilling their religious duties.”
The second thing is that they prefer joining social organizations to going to church on Sundays due to the large amount of cultural entertainment that is available. The “heavy holiness” of Christmas leads them to church on that day.
The majority come from Christian families, sharing the same religious identity with their family members with a lack of true devoutness. Out of the need for family meetings, they follow their families to Christmas celebrations.
There are some “Chreasters” who are kind and have ideas and deeds in accordance with Christian teachings, but their spiritual lives are poor on average. More or less, there are some bad addictions even non-Christians don’t have in their lives.
I came to know a soccer fan who is addicted to gambling. He said that he often placed bets with a man who worships God, but the latter disappears around Christmas because he is spending time at the church for three days and not gambling. Because of that, he eventually knew his friend’s Christian identity.
Christians should live a life worthy of the calling they have received, obey Christ’s teachings in thoughts and deeds, and walk daily with the Lord, not being Christians just on Sundays or even Christmas.
Moreover, the rise of “Chreasters” has something to do with a lack of pastoral care. A sister busy with her work became alienated from her church who never visited her. She would never have been a “Chreaster” if she would have been paid a vist at that time.
The church can organize a ministry that is responsible for pastoring and caring for new Christians. The team can train them regularly with biblical teachings. The most important thing is to frequently visit those “Chreasaters” who can receive answers for their daily and faith questions and receive actual help. Then the special group can have a stronger sense of belonging and understand more about truth after having felt the warm of their churches.