‘Old Christmas at Clay Hill’ on Jan. 6

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, January 1, 2014

For 15 years or more, Brundidge United Methodist Church has hosted Old Christmas at Clay Hill on January 6, which is Old Christmas Day – the day that the Wise Men arrived to worship the Christ Child.

The annual celebration brings a quiet and meaningful close to the Christmas season on the 12th and final day of Christmas with a lamp light service of scriptures and songs of the season.

The stories of the night the Christ Child was born and the arrival of the Three Wise Men are intertwined with congregational singing and vocal and instrumental specials.

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For Sara Bowden and her family, Old Christmas at Clay Hill has become a Christmas tradition.

“The Old Christmas service is a beautiful and meaningful service,” Bowden said. “For me and many others, it’s what Christmas is all about – that little baby called Jesus.”

Bowden said that she looks forward to Old Christmas every year.

“I don’t think that the season would be complete if it were not for Old Christmas at Clay Hill,” she said. “It brings together, in a quiet and peaceful way, the celebration of Christmas and the moving forward into the New Year.”

The Rev. Ed Shirley, pastor of BUMC, said that the arrival of the Wise Men has great significance in the Christmas story.

“The Wise Men –the Three Kings — traveled a great distance to see the Newborn King,” Shirley said. “That is validation that Jesus was the King of Kings. And, the Three Kings came bringing gold, frankincense and myrrh, which were all precious materials. Joseph was a poor carpenter and those gifts would allow him to take care of his family for a long while.”

But most of all, Shirley said, the Wise Men were not from the seed of Abraham, meaning that Jesus came as the Savior of all the world.

The Old Christmas service is held annually at historic Clay Hill Church in Pronto on January 6. The service will begin at 6 p.m. Monday night.

Clay Hill offers the congregation an opportunity to experience Christmas in an old-fashioned way. The church is decorated with offerings from Mother Nature and is lighted by lamps. Everyone is encouraged to dress according to the weather.

Clay Hill Church is located between Brundidge and Banks, about a mile off Highway 93 on County Road 4408.

Everyone is welcome and invited to linger after the service for teacakes and hot apple cider.