Holiday prompts special services

By Helena Rodriguez: Freedom Newspapers

On that first Christmas night, as Joseph and Mary reportedly searched for lodging before the birth of Jesus, they were foreigners in another land, dependent on the help of strangers.

It is the same kind of compassion and call for social action that pastor Clyde Davis will focus on when he delivers his Christmas Eve sermon at First Presbyterian Church.

“Because of the fact that Mary, Joseph and Jesus were refugees and we have a lot of refugees in our world today, Jesus would not want us to turn our backs on them,” Davis explained.

Davis said his church will re-enact the events surrounding the birth of Jesus in the form of a Mexican tradition known as “Los Posadas.”

Elsewhere around town, pastors will deliver special Christmas messages of peace during candlelight and communion services and vigils on Christmas Eve. With Christmas Eve falling on a Sunday, most of these services will be an extension of the regular Sunday worship times.

Many of the Christmas Eve services will focus on the fact that Emmanuel means “God is with us” or as Steve Smith, pastor of University Baptist Church, says, “God is with us in Christ.”

At St. Helen Catholic Church, Father Jim McGowan, said, “My message will be about accepting the Christ child, recognizing that he is God’s gift of salvation to all.”
Regarding the current conflicts in The Middle East, McGowan added, “Jesus came as the Prince of Peace and we need to strive for peace in our world and in our communities.”

Harry Riser, pastor of First United Methodist Church, said, “I think the nature of our services is that we will acknowledge the darkness of the world and point to the light.”

Riser added that youth at his church will be doing a dramatic retelling of the Nativity story. At Central Christian Church, pastor David McVey, said the church will have a special speaker, Ben Partin of Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri. Partin is a native of Portales. Church of the Nazarene will have a special Christmas presentation by the Matthew 6:33 Academy. Over at Third & Kilgore Church of Christ, the title of the Christmas Eve sermon will be: “Do You See What I See?”