The holiday season brings excitement, from the very mention of Santa and the mountain of presents he'll bring to the twinkling lights that adorn every square inch of the house.
But for ministers, remembering the true meaning of the holiday season means reminding their congregations that the spirit of the holiday should be set aside to remember the birth and life of Christ.
"First, I think the tendency among middle-class Americans this time of year is to raise our expectations," said Carolyn Moore, elder of Mosaic United Methodist Church, which meets at Evans High School on Cox Road. "It's all feeling. But, for Christians, Christmas is not a feeling, it's a face."
Moore emphasizes the "real Jesus; the flesh and blood Jesus who was born of a woman" in her messages to her members.
"I speak of Jesus not as just an idea, but as a man," she said. "He was a prophecy whose story was part of the grand design from the very beginning."
Jeremy Hinote, youth minister at Central Church of Christ on Old Petersburg Road, said the Church of Christ doesn't celebrate Christmas as the birth of Jesus. Rather, his faith believes it is important to reflect on the birth and life of Christ all year long.
"We remind people about the holiday season and how we should be thankful," he said. "We use it as a time to help people realize that we should be thankful every day that Christ was born and died for us."
Steve Spencer, pastor of First Baptist Church of Evans, said distractions definitely abound during the holiday season, but he doesn't necessarily preach his sermons any differently in December.
"I try to do at Christmas what I'd do any time of the year," he said, adding that he has adopted the theme "Make Much of Jesus" for the Advent season.
Moore agrees that it is easy to see how so many people get wrapped up in the holiday season that they fail to reflect on the spirit of the season.
"I think we need to be intentional about the spirit of Christmas. But how do you do that?" she asked.
First of all, Moore said Christians are called to practice the spirit of patience and kindness.
"This is very important," she said. "I've just seen a lot of stress out there. Every Christian out there has a responsibility to practice patience."
Secondly, Moore said it's important to practice the spirit of generosity, which is what Jesus taught.
"Give something somewhere beyond what's on your gift list," she said.
Mosaic Methodist Church will hold its first Christmas Eve service Friday at 5:30 p.m., where a program on Christmas traditions around the world will be explored.
"Be intentional about the spirit of Christmas," Moore said.
"This thought was brought to my attention just the other day," she said. "I was listening to a song by Larnelle Harris in which he sings about packing up the Christmas decorations at the end of the season. His son asks if they pack up baby Jesus, too. In the end, we don't remember Jesus only at Christmas, but all through the year we live in the presence of Jesus."
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