Well, it’s happening again. As the holidays approach, churches are gearing up for their largest attendance of the year. Sanctuaries that usually have plenty of room will be filled to capacity.

Church leaders sometimes refer to these seasonal attenders as “C and E churchgoers”—people who visit only at Christmas and Easter. They can make pastors feel as if their churches are two-season tourist attractions.

Most churches welcome the influx of visitors and try to show them that peace and good tidings are in season year round. But why don’t these “church tourists” attend regularly?

An interviewer singled out some of these people for a news story last Christmas. One woman pointed to busy lives and demanding careers that keep her family from church. Most of those interviewed admitted, “I know I should come to church more often, but . . .” A parent commented, “When the holidays come, it reminds me of all the things we cherish. I want my daughter to experience some of that.”

Church isn’t merely something we should “experience” or attend out of guilt. We need to be with God’s people whenever we are able (Heb. 10:24-25). It’s only together that we can become all that God wants us to be.