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Simplicity: Clay Hill hosts traditional Old Christmas service

Messenger photo/Jaine Treadwell The public is invited to the historic Clay Hill Church on Jan. 6 for the traditional Old Christmas service. The candlelight service marks the Epiphany, or the date the Wise Men travelled to meet the Christ child.

Messenger photo/Jaine Treadwell
The public is invited to the historic Clay Hill Church on Jan. 6 for the traditional Old Christmas service. The candlelight service marks the Epiphany, or the date the Wise Men travelled to meet the Christ child.

Christmas comes like a lullaby on Old Christmas Day at historic Clay Hill Church in rural Pike County.

For nearly 20 years, Brundidge United Methodist Church has hosted Old Christmas at Clay Hill on January 6, which is the day that Wise Men arrived to worship the Christ Child.

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

“Old Christmas at Clay Hill is celebrated in much the same way that it was in the early 1900s,” said Margaret Ross, BUMC worship chair. “Clay Hill Church is a historic church that was built much in the same way as other country churches of that time. It’s a one-room frame church with wood benches with straight backs. There is no electricity, only lamps to light the church.”

Ross said the church is decorated with pine, cedar and holly and music is played on acoustic instruments.

“Old Christmas is a service of scriptures and songs that tell the stories of the birth of Jesus and the arrival of the Wise Men to worship the Christ Child,” she said.  “The congregation is invited to join in the singing of the carols of Christmas as the stories of the birth of the Christ Child and the arrival of the Wise Men are being told.”

The Rev. Ed Shirley, BUCM pastor, said Old Christmas is a unique service in that the congregation is the choir.

“We have special music but most of the songs are congregational,” he said. “Old Christmas is the celebration of the arrival of the Wise Men and they will tell their own stories.”

The service will conclude with the passing of Light of Peace.

The weather is expected to be cold. The church is heated but everyone is encouraged to dress warmly. 

Old Christmas is a non-denominational service and everyone is invited be a part of this old-time service that celebrates the birth of the Christ Child and the Arrival of the Wise Men to worship Him.

Old Christmas is a quiet and peaceful celebration of Christmas and the moving forward to the New Year.

Clay Hill Church is located at Pronto just off Highway 93 between Banks and Brundidge  on County Road 4408. Coming from Banks, take a left onto 4408, from Brundidge take a right. The church is a quarter mile from the railroad track.