For many Christians, Christmas Eve is a time to gather together and celebrate the birth of Jesus, remembering that he was sent to this world to save us from our sins.
Although Christmas has become increasingly commercialized over the years, the true meaning of Christmas is not about trees, decorations, gifts or office parties. Christmas is a time to come together and celebrate the birth of the Christ child. It is also a time to gather with friends and family and celebrate the gifts that God has given us. Not material gifts, but gifts of love, understanding and those we hold dearly.
As Luke 2:1-7 reminds us, Christmas is when Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem for the census. Once there, they took shelter in a stable where Mary gave birth to Christ.
"She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them."
Various Christian denominations have different ways to celebrate Christmas. Some, including the Catholic Church, Episcopal Church and many non or interdenominational churches, celebrate the birth of Christ by holding a Christmas Eve mass or communion service.
Digital Journal attended a Christmas Eve communion service at one interdenominational church in Nashville, capturing a few scenes from the church and the service.
During the service, we were reminded that the true meaning of Christmas is celebration. Not celebrating with presents and food, but celebrating the gift given to us by God, the gift of his son, Jesus.
"Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.'"