First Christian Church members celebrate "the birthday that's really important," at Christmas Eve services

Hannah Swayze • Updated Dec 23, 2017 at 12:35 AM

Christmas Eve services are plentiful at First Christian Church in Johnson City.

The church is holding six identical Christmas Eve services leading up to Christmas Day. The first was held Friday; others will be Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 9 and 11 a.m. and 4 and 6 p.m.

"We know that Christmas Eve itself is, for many people, a special family time, and so we want there to be lots of opportunities for them to come and celebrate the birth of Christ with their family and friends in ways that also allow them to celebrate their personal Christmas traditions, whenever those might happen," said Senior Minister Ethan Magness.

These services are special for Christmas Eve and are the conclusion of the Church's sermon series, "Unwrapped."

"I think the main thing that's different is a particular attempt to be clear on just how extravagant the gifts of God are to us through Christ, and how important it is that we let ourselves receive those gifts," said Magness.

Dina Richardson, a First Christian member, attended Friday night's service with her son and grandson.

For her, Christmas is a lot about family: During Christmas time, her whole family gathers at her home.

"Christmas gives you the opportunity to get them stuff and tell them things that you don't normally get to during the year," said Richardson.

Christmas is a time for tradition and celebration for Richardson. She says that during the year, these opportunities sometime happen, like on family member's birthdays, but Christmas is the time of year to celebrate and be around family and appreciate them all while celebrating "the birthday that's really important."

For one church volunteer in particular, Christmas is not only about spending time with her biological family, but also her church family, which has been there for her through some really tough times.

So to Mary Stewart, her church family at First Christian Church is also a big part of her holiday this year.

“If you could do Christmas all year, it would be great,” said Stewart.

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