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Merry Christmas

Local pastors: Christmas is about God’s son

In a matter of days, Christians around the world will be celebrating.

Their celebration will occur on Mon., Dec. 25 — Christmas Day.

For many, Christmas Day is a day to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ.

On a local level, churches in the area are slated to hold services to help remind residents of the importance of the holiday.

For First Baptist Church of Atmore Pastor Arnold Hendrix, the meaning of Christmas is all about Jesus.

“It’s about God delivering on a promise he made many years prior to solve man’s sin problem,” Hendrix said. “He kept that promise, and came through on the first Christmas Day.”

FBC will hold one Christmas Eve service at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

Nearby, at First United Methodist Church on Pensacola Avenue, services will be held tonight and on Sunday.

The service tonight is called The Longest Night: A Service of Healing and Hope at 6 p.m.

The Rev. Brennan Peacock said the name of the service comes from the season, which puts tonight as the longest night of the year. The name “Longest Night” also describes the feeling that a number of us have during this season.

“In the long, dark winter nights, memories of past experiences and the pain of present experiences and situations can become overwhelming,” he said.

Peacock said the service encourages those attending to sit and listen, and pray.

Additionally, FUMC will hold an 11 a.m. service on Sunday, followed by a 5 p.m. candlelight service as well. Nursery will be provided.

Atmore First Assembly of God Pastor Don Davis said the church will hold a Christmas Eve morning service this year.

Davis said Christmas isn’t found under a tree, but “on a tree.”

“You will not find Christmas in a package under a tree, but in a life rescued and redeemed by the babe of Bethlehem,” Davis said.

St. Robert’s Bellarmine Catholic Church is holding Christmas Eve services at 9 a.m. for regular mass; at 5 p.m. for a children’s Vigil Mass; and at midnight. On Christmas Day, there will be a mass at 10 a.m. New Year’s Eve services will be at 9 a.m. and at noon on New Year’s Day.

Fr. Jay Arulappan said Christmas Day is a day that was foretold many, many years ago, even when the people of Israel were slaves.

“The word came from the prophet Isaiah that the day will come,” he said.

Arulappan said Christmas is a day of celebrating, not only Christ’s birth, but others as well.

The mystery of Christ’s birth from the Virgin Mary without human aid is a central part of the church’s beliefs.

“If you put all of this together, its joy to the world and glory to God in the highest,” he said. “We’re reinforcing his birth, and our covenant with God. When we do this, we know we have salvation and that Jesus was born for all. He was born to give us our salvation.”