Pastors: Keep Christ in Christmas

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At Christmas services this weekend, pastors at various churches throughout town are reminding parishioners of the true meaning of the holidays.

"Christmas isn't about all this commercialism," the Rev. Jose Saenz of St. Michael's Catholic Church said. "It's about the birth of Christ. We ask they keep Christ in the holiday."

He said he's proud of how the community has come together for the season, and hopes the strong connections continue.

"(The parishioners are) very faithful, very loving. The whole community of Craig has come together," he said. "We hope they would continue to worship the Lord and continue to come to Mass."

Saenz will be preaching about the reasons Christ came and how he is the Savior. He asks all those celebrating to remember that the holiday recognizes the birth of Jesus.

Anna Adams, a member of the First Congregational United Church of Christ, will preach at a candlelight Christmas Eve Mass at 7 p.m. The topic for her sermon is, "Whose birthday is it anyway?"

First Christian Church pastor David Carrick hopes youth minister John Graler gets the same message across when he preaches this weekend. Graler leads the congregation every fourth Sunday, and Carrick said this week is no different.

With increased attendance, Carrick said Christmas, along with Easter, is one of the most important services in terms of reaching his audience.

"These two times probably more than others, those people who don't know about Christ are more available, more open to learn about him," he said.

Phillip Gibson Jr., pastor at Friendship United Methodist Church, agreed and reminds others that this is the season of hope.

"I've been pondering, how do we get back to the wonder that children have about Christmas? How do we adults get back to it?" he said.

Gibson will ask his parishioners to reminisce about Christmases past, both the good and the bad memories. But, by the end of the service, he hopes, as do the other pastors, that those who attend Christmas services will leave with a renewed sense of excitement for the holidays and an understanding of Jesus' role in everyday life.

"(It's about) showing that Jesus really is the answer," Carrick said.

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031 or mperry@craigdailypress.com.

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