NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A study conducted by LifeWay Research found that 91 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas, including a majority of atheists, individuals claiming other religions, and agnostics or those with no religious preference.
The study also found that one of the ways 47 percent of households celebrate the holiday is by attending special Christmas Eve or Christmas Day church services, which perhaps points to an earlier LifeWay Research study.
In December 2008, LifeWay Research presented respondents with nine seasons or life moments and asked: “Have you been more open to considering matters of faith during any of the following times in your life?” Among the nine occasions tested, “during the Christmas holiday season” earned the highest response with 47 percent of respondents citing that as a time they were more open to considering matters of faith.
“Our research shows that people are open during the Christmas season,” said Ed Stetzer, vice president of LifeWay Research and Ministry Development. “When someone says ‘Happy Holidays,’ I’m not sure the response should be snarling ‘Merry Christmas.’ Instead, I’d suggest seizing the opportunity the season provides. Christians should be as bold in their witness as some are in protest.”
In the 2008 study, LifeWay Research found that 67 percent of Americans say a personal invitation from a church-going family member would be the most effective method a local congregation or faith community could use to invite them to attend. Invitations to attend church from a friend or neighbor are almost as effective, with 63 percent of Americans indicating this variety of invitation would be effective.
“Americans celebrate Christmas, but are often disconnected from the birth of a personal Savior,” Stetzer said. “There’s a gap between practice and belief – and Christians need to step into that gap and share why Jesus was born.”