One in 5 Americans say that they expect the COVID-19 pandemic to make them more spiritually reflective this Christmas season, while far fewer say it will make them less likely to examine the holiday’s meaning, according to a new LifeWay Research survey.
The poll of 1,200 Americans found that 19 percent of adults say they expect to have more “spiritual reflections this Christmas,” compared to 9 percent who say it will make them less likely to examine the meaning of the season. About three-fifths (59 percent) say their spiritual reflections will stay the same.
Only 12 percent of Americans say reflecting on the meaning of Christmas is not part of their celebration, according to the poll.
“Almost 9 in 10 Americans typically do some spiritual reflection at Christmas,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “Personal time considering why God would come in the flesh isn’t affected by health or financial concerns, so it’s not surprising that about twice as many Americans will do more of this than less for Christmas this year.”
Nearly one-fourth (23 percent) of evangelicals say they will have more spiritual reflections this Christmas season. Perhaps surprisingly, even 10 percent of the religiously unaffiliated say they’ll be more reflective of the holiday’s meaning.
Meanwhile, many Americans – 35 percent – say they’re expecting to visit family less this Christmas season due to the pandemic, while 47 percent will visit family the same and 13 percent will visit family more.
Gift-giving is less popular, too, with 20 percent of Americans saying they’ll give fewer gifts this season, while 67 percent say their gift-giving will be the same and 9 percent say they’ll give more gifts.
“Some Americans are reacting to the effects of Covid-19 by doubling down with plans to celebrate more,” McConnell said. “Other Americans will scale back their traditions likely due to safety, finances or their state of mind.”
The pandemic apparently will impact church attendance, too: 25 percent of Americans say they’re less likely to attend a Christmas church service because of COVID-19.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Piotr Wójcik
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.