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Churches plan Christmas Eve services

On the eve of Christmas, many Christians prepare for holiday celebrations. Area churches host a plethora of services on both Dec. 24 and Dec. 25.

The Rev. Dr. Ron Stone, pastor of First Presbyterian Church on Broad Street, is looking forward to the services his church will host this year.

“For people of the Christian faith, we realize it’s more than happy holidays,” Stone said. “It’s about celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

First Presbyterian Church will hold a baptism and communion service from 5 to 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 24, and then from 5:30 p.m. to 6: 30 p.m. a candlelight service with a short sermon, music of the choir and traditional caroling with the congregation.

All attendants stand with a candle in a circle around the perimeter of the sanctuary singing carols.

“It’s very beautiful and special,” Stone said.

Last year the church had more than 500 people, Stone said. During the service the Christ candle will also be lit along with the other four Advent candles, lit each Sunday during the season of Advent.

Services bring the religious community together, joining people together as a family of Christ, Stone said.

He has heard people remark that the music of the Christmas services is spiritual, and agrees that the music is incredibly beautiful.

The sanctuary of the church is decorated with a nativity scene of a stable and figures of the holy family with the wise men.

Also on the altar, poinsettias adorn the nativity scene, and a Chrismon trees filled with Christian symbols sit in the corner of the altar.

“The sanctuary is really decked out,” Stone said. “I guessed we decked the halls.”

Christmas Eve services will also be held Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church at 5:30 p.m., Queen of Peace Catholic Church at 5 p.m., Church Street United Methodist Church at 5 p.m. and First Baptist Church at 5 p.m. for a vesper service.

Christmas Day services will be held at Queen of Peace Catholic Church at 7:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.

For a full listing of services, please contact your church’s office.