Clay Hill closes season with Old Christmas

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Those who braved the elements to attend Old Christmas at Clay Hill Monday night received the blessings that come from getting out of one’s comfort zone to worship.

The Rev. Ed Shirley led the Old Christmas service of scriptures and songs and said that he was richly blessed by having been a part of the traditional service that brings to a close the 12 Days of Christmas.

“It is a blessing, that wondrous spirit that connects us with the saints of the past when we go out of our way to worship in a rustic setting or a place of great remembrance like Clay Hill Church,” Shirley said. “Old Christmas at Clay Hill is an opportunity to worship in a setting that is reminiscent of our heritage in the Christian faith.”

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Shirley said that generations not too far removed worshiped in church houses that had only pot bellied stoves to warm them in winter and elbow fans to cool them in summertime.

“Our ancestors didn’t have the amenities that we have today,” Shirley said. “But I think those who attended Old Christmas Monday night would agree that it was worth going to sing and praise the Lord Jesus Christ in such a setting.”

The light from the oil lamps, the evergreen decorations, the plank floor and even the wooden pews provided the perfect atmosphere for the service, Shirley said.

Jimmy Hollis has attended every Old Christmas service except one.

“I can definitely say that I profited from having been there,” Hollis said. “And, even though it was a very cold night, I think that I enjoyed this Old Christmas service more than any other.”

“The scriptures are always so meaningful,” Fraley said. “The a cappella singing by Rev. Ed and Ron Jackson and traditional music played and sung by Lee Benton and Dan Fraley were extra ordinarily good. Some of the best music I’ve heard at Christmastime.”

Hollis said that Old Christmas at Clay Hill brings together a blending of the Christian community.

“Old Christmas is for everybody,” he said. “It’s a gathering of those who appreciate the quietness and peacefulness of Christmas and want to have one more opportunity to experience it and in the traditional way.”