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Looking Back On Christmas Weekend 2016

Looking Back On Christmas Weekend 2016

January is a month for reflecting on the year behind and dreaming for the year ahead.  One of my personal highlights of 2016 was Christmas weekend.  

I’ve heard the “it’s not about presents, it’s about Jesus” speech for as long as I can remember.  This year it was so real for me.  Our world is so lost.  So hurting.  Seeking love and joy and peace in so many things that just can not fulfill.  

As the Church we carry the message of THE gift.  A Savior born to die.  A redeemer for our fallen soul.  

With that in mind, preparing for Christmas weekend was such a joy.  Here’s how it went.  


Our vision for Christmas Eve Services at Calvary Monterey is simple:

To provide a time and a place for the whole family to celebrate Jesus.  

This is important because it informs so many decisions.  

How can we create an engaging time for kids?

How can we welcome friends, family members and guests from the community?

How can we keep Christ at the center of everything?  

We go all out.  Music.  Stage Design.  Creative Media.  The Grille Restaurant.  Fun for Kids.  It will be about the best it has been all year.  

At the same time we realize we won’t have the best music you’ll hear this Christmas.  The most beautiful decor you’ll see.  The most engaging video you’ll watch.  The best meal you’ll eat.  

My family and I went to see the San Francisco ballet perform the Nutcracker.  BOOM.  In one night my church already lost on all of those fronts.  

With that realization we don’t pour countless hours into making this the best show in town.  

Our goal is for this to be the most Christ centered, God honoring 45 minuets you’ll participate in all month.  

Our goal is for everyone to leave celebrating Jesus.  


Each year I lead the planning and preparation along with our team leaders.  Our staff isn’t huge so many of us wear multiple hats.  This was the breakdown for our team: 

Event Oversight 

Service Planning / Advertising

Calvary Kids / Family Experience

Kids Choir

Facilities / Decor / Budget


Tech Team / Media Elements / Signage / Graphics / Website

Special Projects 

Our creative, kids and facilities teams began working on their projects about two and half months out.   We all met together for a weekly meeting for the four weeks leading up to Christmas.  This year the planning included Christmas Day.  Sunday December 25th.  


We did several things for promotion but two elements proved especially effective.  

1) We invested in sponsoring our Facebook Post. It ended up having a strong level of engagement with almost 250 reactions and 58 shares.  

2) Our Youth Pastor lead a team of students to post fliers around town in coffee shops, stores and restaurants.  They also handed out personal invites at the Farmer’s Market.  

Christmas Eve

When December 24th arrived there was one major difference.  I wasn’t working!  For the first time in 10 years I was able to take off work on Christmas Eve to enjoy time with my wife and family.  It was a major blessing.  

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss it a little bit but it was extremely rewarding attending one of the three services and seeing our team lead so well.  I was so proud.  

One highlight from the service was including the kids for one of the songs.  They sang on “A Light” by The Brilliance.  I think we win for most trendy kids choir.  The song was preluded by this video produced by our creative team.

Here is the Live Stream recording from the Service.

Christmas Day

For Christmas day we made it a point to keep things simple.  We held one service at 10am instead of 3 services throughout the day.  We had everyone in our main Sanctuary.  All of the kids were in the service with their family.  

We sang a few songs.  Looked to God's Word and celebrated Jesus!  

How was Christmas weekend at your church?  

What Elements did you include?

Anything you would do differently or the same?  

Share in the comments below!  

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