Christmas Eve is also widely celebrated by Christian churches since it’s often held that Jesus was born at night. The night birth is celebrated in songs, such as “Silent Night,” and Midnight Mass is celebrated in Catholic and Anglican churches.
Candlelight observances are usually a part of Christmas Eve services, with the candle representing the light of Christ in the world.
Tabernacle Baptist Church off the Highway 166 Bypass in Carrollton plans a traditional candlelight service for Christmas Eve. The service will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the church’s worship center.
“We’ll light the advent wreath and Christ candle,” said Senior Pastor Dr. Jimmy Gentry. “The Christ candle will burn with four other candles — watchfulness, confession, jubilation and assurance.”
Gentry said often there’s a baptism to be celebrated on Christmas Eve and that makes a memorable evening.
“We’ll sing Christmas carols and hear the Christmas story from Matthew, Chapter 1, and from Luke, Chapter 2,” he said.
Music will include Carol Jackson singing a solo and the Tabernacle Choir offering a choral anthem, “Mary, Did You Know?,” featuring a duo by Alan Schantz, associate pastor of music and worship, and his wife, Lynda Schantz.
“We’ll be celebrating the holy communion and two people will be receiving their first communion,” Gentry said.
Attendees will participate in the candlelight service by lighting candles.
“Each person will be given a candle on entrance,” Gentry said.
The conclusion of the Christmas Eve service will include everyone singing “Silent Night, followed by a benediction from Gentry and “Joy to the World” on the organ as people leave the church.
First Christian Church, 218 Ward St. in Carrollton, will also be observing a traditional 6 p.m. candlelight Christmas Eve service and communion.
“On Christmas Eve, people like the traditional Christmas carols and the softer music, so those will be the songs we focus on,” said Rev. Randy Barnhardt.
He said the service will include a special children’s moment, with readings to and from children.
“It will be a night of terrific music from our two worship leaders,” Barnhardt said. “It will be mostly traditional, with a sprinkling of contemporary.”
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Dr. Steve Davis, pastor of First Baptist Church of Carrollton, said his church’s 5 p.m. service in the church sanctuary will include the lighting of four candles, representing love, hope, joy and peace.
“All our banners and candles used in the service will symbolize those four Christian ideals,” Davis said. “We’ll have readings and songs to match those themes.”
The Lord’s Supper will be observed and an offering will be taken for Stop Hunger Now, an international charity the church supports.
St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, 606 Newnan Street, Carrollton, will have two services on Christmas Eve.
The first service will be at 6 p.m. and include the Holy Eucharist and a children’s Christmas pageant.
The second service will be the 11 p.m. Holy Eucharist, preceded by carol singing at 10:30 p.m., according to Julie Foreman, parish administrator.
Other local services include:
• An interactive Christmas Eve service, just for children and their families, at 3 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 206 Newnan St., Carrollton.
• Concord United Methodist Church, 4682 South Hickory Level Road, Carrollton, will have a 6 p.m. Christmas Eve candlelight service.
• First Baptist Church of Villa Rica, 1483 West Bankhead Ave., Villa Rica, will have a 5 p.m. Christmas Eve service, featuring Christmas carols and observance of the Lord’s Supper.
• Oak Mountain Presbyterian Church, 402 Oak Mountain Road, Carrollton, will have a 6:30 p.m. candlelight service.
• Carrollton Presyberian Church, 124 Maple St., Carrollton, will have a 5 p.m. children’s candlelight service, followed by the traditional service at 7 p.m. Both are in the church sanctuary.