By Carla Howie
Whether its stockings hung by the chimney with care, caroling on the neighborhood streets or a midnight service, most of us have a special tradition that is kept alive from year to year. We’ve asked our local churches to share what tradition the church maintains for its Christmas services.
Pastor Drew Hunter – Zionsville Fellowship, 9090 Oak St.
“On Sundays leading up to and at our Christmas Eve service, we gather together to sing Christmas-themed songs, participate in a choir presentation and hear teachings from God’s word about the significance of Jesus’ birth.”
Rev. C. Davies Reed – St. Francis In-The-Fields, 1525 Mulberry St.
“We host a Christmas pageant on Christmas Eve featuring our young people in grades 3 through 12. On the 4th Sunday of Advent we have a chili cook-off among our congregation and conduct the “greening of the church” with the children decorating the tree. The men clean the chandeliers in the Nave and we support activities for Operation Christmas Child, an Angel Tree and food collections for food pantries.”
Pastor Mark Condrey – Zionsville Christian Church, 120 N. Ninth St.
“At the beginning of Advent, we begin the season by hanging wreaths around the sanctuary and our youth hang Chrismons, symbolic Christian ornaments, on the tree. Our traditions include lighting of the Advent wreath and a Christmas cantata sung by our choir depicting the story of the Advent narrated by our youth with a congregation luncheon afterwards. Music is a big part of our December services, especially during our candle light service on Christmas Eve.”
Pastor Jim Miller – Salem United Methodist, 6701 South 775 East.
“We dedicate an entire Sunday service to our youth where they put on an often unique and humorous production of the Christmas story. We maintain our traditional candlelight service on Christmas Eve in our historic church building.”
Pastor Steven Albertin – Christ Lutheran, 600 N. Ford Rd.
“Our worship space is decorated in blue, the color of hope for the Advent season. In the sanctuary the Advent wreath and Jesse Tree mark the passage of each week in Advent. To commemorate Christmas, the sanctuary is decorated with a large tree adorned with Chrismon ornaments portraying the Christian faith and we host two candlelight services to accommodate families with young children.”
Pastor Aaron Brockett – Trader’s Point Christian, 6590 S. Indianapolis Rd.
“We have a candle lighting service to symbolize the light and hope of Jesus and discuss how the message is bigger than a Christmas service. Each year we give gifts to local families who would not otherwise have them and take a special offering that goes to a global initiative. This year, our offering will contribute to erecting a school for underprivileged children in Lusaka, Zambia.”
Rev. Scott Shelton – Zionsville Presbyterian, 4775 W. 116th St.
“We decorate the building as a church family. We pack shoe boxes with gifts for Operation Christmas Child and fill boxes with two weeks of non-perishable items in collaboration with Shepherd Community Center to feed children over the Christmas school break. We conclude our Christmas celebration an early fun family service on Christmas Eve and hold three candle light services throughout the remainder of the evening.
Pastor David Bourne – New Hope Christian Church, 5776 S. 650 E St.
“We have a special presentation from our children’s ministry at our Christmas Eve service.”
Pastor Glenn Howell – Zionsville United Methodist Church, 9644 Whitestown Rd.
“Our tradition is to send outreach funds to the needy; providing gifts for children whose parents are either incarcerated or in poverty. We host a beautiful Christmas Eve service with inspiring music.”
Father Dennis O’Keeffe – St. Alphonsus Liguori, 1870 W. Oak St.
“One Christmas tradition is the parish crèche, or nativity scene at the entrance of the church; featuring a large stable with figurines. The crèche is displayed from the start of Advent through the Christmas season. Additional statues are added to the crèche all the way until Epiphany Sunday when the magi arrive and the entire story of Christmas is celebrated. It is during the longstanding tradition of celebrating Jesus’ birth at midnight on Dec. 25, when the baby Jesus figurine is placed in the manger.”
Hope you enjoyed this brief glimpse into the different ways the Christmas season is recognized throughout many of the local churches. Each church leader has extended an open invitation to families and friends in Zionsville to join their celebration and share in their traditions.