Local churches hold Christmas services

Published 11:00 pm Monday, December 23, 2013

In honor of the spirit of the season, local churches are offering special Christmas Eve and Christmas services on Tuesday and Wednesday.

St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Troy will be holding three services over the two days, a 5:30 p.m. Mass on Christmas Eve, a midnight Mass on Christmas and an additional 10 a.m. Mass on Christmas day.

Father Den Irwin said his church likes to celebrate Christmas early and often. “We’re celebrating Mass at 5:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve,” Father Irwin said. “Generally, a lot of children come to that one. A little bit before the 5:30 p.m. Mass, around 5 p.m., we’ll sing some Christmas hymns.”

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Farther Iwrin said, upon entering the church, it is clear that it is Christmastime. “A big part of our celebration of Christmas is in the special music we play and the decorations we put up,” Father Irwin said. “We have the nativity scene that details the humble surroundings of Jesus’ birth. We use a lot of candles in our services around Christmas. They represent the coming of Jesus, the light of the world, during the darkest part of the year. It’s all very symbolic.”

For those who like to stay up late, the church celebrates Mass at midnight on Christmas. “The idea of the midnight Mass is that you are celebrating the birth of Jesus as soon as possible,” Father Irwin said. “That’s been a tradition of the Catholic church for years and years. It’s not always possible to have a Mass that late. There’s something so wonderful about celebrating during the night. It makes you think about the angel coming and announcing to the shepherds that Jesus is born.”

Farhter Iwrin said not everyone is cut out for the midnight Mass, though. “We normally only have about 50 people who come to the midnight Mass,” Father Iwrin said. “We fill the church for the Christmas Eve mass. Obviously, families with kids generally don’t come to the late Mass.”

Those who have never been to a Catholic Mass can expect a beautiful service. “The readings at Christmas are very beautiful, especially at the midnight Mass,” Father Irwin said. “We always read from the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah talks about the light coming in to darkness. We do the whole recounting of the birth of Jesus with the angels appearing to the shepherds.”

Father Irwin extended an invitation to everyone to attend one of the three Christmas services. “This is a great time of year,” Father Iwrin said. My prayer would be that everyone would celebrate with us whether they are Catholic are not. I hope everyone will attend church somewhere to celebrate the birth of Jesus. We don’t want to lose sight of what Christmas is really about—the birth of the Son of God who became man to save the world from sin.”

A number of Pike County churches will be holding services around Christmas:

Park Memorial United Methodist Church in Troy will offer opportunities for communion between the hours of 3 and 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve and will follow with a candlelight service at 6 p.m.

First United Methodist Church in Troy will also have a candlelight service at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

Bush Memorial Baptist Church in Troy will have communion service at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve.

Brundidge United Methodist Church and Salem Baptist Church, also in Brundidge, will have communion services at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve.

Tennille United Methodist Church will have a song and communion service at 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

God’s Way Baptist Church will have a Family Christmas service at 6:30 p.m. Christmas Day. All who would like to come and celebrate the birth of Christ are welcome.