RAPID CITY, S.D. — Here at home on this Christmas Eve, many churches held services as they have throughout the week.
Christmas, as well as Easter, are times when churches in the Black Hills and around the world see their highest turnout, and Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services have become a popular tradition for many people.
“Every year people make time to come out for Christmas eve services, it’s a tradition for a lot of people,” said lead Pastor at Bethel Assembly, Keith Culver. “We have a candlelight time where everybody lights candles and we sing Silent Night, that kind of thing. So, it’s become a real big tradition for a lot of people.”
Even with COVID, this year has been no different, as the message of hope resonates now more than ever.
“In the middle of chaos, there’s still hope,” said Culver. “And that’s what Jesus is all about, bringing hope, bringing joy, bringing peace to those in need. And we’re all in need. In this day and age and the way we’re living our world right now, and things that are going on. We need hope. Jesus is where we find that hope, and that’s what Christmas is all about.”
Lead Pastor at Fountain Springs, David Kinnan, said, “Many of us, especially this year, are wondering, ‘do I have enough in the tank? Am I enough?’ And we want to talk about the story of Christmas, and what the means to each one of us, and how much God loves us. So that’s our message. Just trying to help anyone and everyone know who Jesus is, so that this Christmas, no matter what 2020 has been like, can even end with hope.”
Throughout the pandemic, churches have made accommodations, with both in-person and online services, and they are doing the same through the holidays. Although it’s been a different experience, congregations have appreciated still having the opportunity to come together in worship.
“People are really open to doing different things, and really appreciative of everything that we try to do to help them to get together with one another and worship God,” said Pastoral Associate at First Presbyterian Church, Paula Zavitz. “Although people are missing the old way, doing things in a new way sometimes open peoples minds and hearts in a new way and they gain new understanding and new appreciation of the old, old story.”
Following Christmas Eve services, some churches will be moving to online services for the remainder of the week and into the weekend, to return in the New Year.