End the season with the Old Christmas event

Published 3:00 am Saturday, January 2, 2016

Following the hustle and bustle of Christmas, there’s the quiet, peaceful time that is known as Old Christmas.

On that day, so long ago, the Wise Men finally arrived to worship the Christ Child.

Each year at 6 p.m. on Old Christmas Day, Jan. 6, Brundidge United Methodist Church hosts an Old Christmas Service of Scriptures and Songs at historic Clay Hill Church. The service is non-denominational and everyone is invited.

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Old Christmas is not a widespread celebration, as such, in America today. Mountain folks and plain folks celebrate Old Christmas but, other than that, the celebrations are few and far between. However, the tradition has become a part of the Christmas “story” in Pike County said Annette Bryan, a member of the Old Christmas committee.

“Old Christmas at Clay Hill is celebrated in much the same way as it was 100 years ago,” Bryan said. “It is a lamplight service and the church is decorated with pine, cedar and holly. The music is played on acoustic instruments and the congregation is invited to join in the singing of the carols of Christmas as the stories of both the birth of the Christ Child and the arrival of the Wise Men are being told through the scriptures. The service ends with the passing of the light of peace.”

Don Renfroe has participated in the Old Christmas service for more than a decade as a member of the congregation and as one of the Wise Men.

“Old Christmas is especially meaningful because of the timing of the service and its simplicity,” Renfrew said. “Old Christmas is a tradition and it comes at a quiet time, after all the fanfare. It’s old-fashioned and it’s nostalgic in that it makes me think of folks back a long time ago and what they went through to worship. It’s a Christmas celebration without the commercialization.”

Margaret Ross, BUMC worship chair, said Old Christmas brings the Christmas season to a quiet and meaningful close.

“Christmas is celebrated in different ways but there’s just something very special about Old Christmas,” Ross said. “We step back in time and celebrate Christmas in a way few people get to experience it.”

Clay Hill Church is located at Pronto. Directions from Troy are a left at the South Alabama Stockyards sign on Highway 231near Brundidge, a right at the dead-end and across the railroad tracks on County Road 4408. From Brundidge or Banks, turn off Highway 93 onto County Road 4408. The church is about a mile on the lef