Most area churches keeping doors open on Christmas Day

ASHLAND Since Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, it will be a change a pace for many churches to host a service on the holiday. However, for Calvary Episcopal Church, having a service on Christmas morning is an occurrence that takes place every year.

Rev. TJ (Antoinette) Azar said the tradition began five years ago. She had only been in the area for a few months and was still getting to know the church family.

After hosting two Christmas Eve services she decided to go ahead and have another service on the day of Christmas, that happened to fall on a weekday, where only nine people showed up. Afterwards she told herself that she would never host a Christmas service on a weekday again.

As she was leaving, her mental note was quickly erased as an elderly woman approached her.

“She was crying and said ‘thank you so much for having service … the Christmas Eve services were beautiful but this was the first Christmas without husband. I just needed something quiet,’” said Azar.

Azar also added that she likes having the yearly service since it is possible that those who do not regularly attend the church will be seeking a place they can go on Christmas morning.

Sunday’s service will be like any other service, said Azar, and will be at 10 a.m.

The common theme among other local churches on Sunday will be to still have a service, but cancel Sunday school classes and not return for the evening. Many churches are having Christmas Eve candlelight services like Unity Baptist Church (5 p.m.) and Rose Hill Baptist Church (5:30 p.m.).

Pastor Dr. Tom Melvin of First Baptist Church in Greenup said his service will be focused on Jesus. He explained the importance of having the service on Sunday, saying that Jesus is the true meaning of Christmas and that people often become too wrapped up in the gifts.

“What better way could we worship than to be in his house?,” said Melvin.

He reflected on the last time that Christmas fell on a Sunday, saying that a great crowd came out.

First Christian Church in Ashland will have a celebrative service about the meaning of Christmas and will live out the life of Jesus, according to Rev. Dr. Isaac Nicholson.

Nicholson said a Sunday service has never been canceled.

“We’ve always, for the last 13 years, have always worshipped on Sunday,” he said.

First Presbyterian Church will kick off their Sunday with a potluck breakfast. While their service will be similar compared to every other Sunday, Rev. Joel Kelly said it would probably feature some Christmas carols.

“I don’t intend to have a very long message. It will be a short service,” said Kelly.

Kelly anticipates that the majority of churchgoers will attend the Christmas Eve service, citing last year’s where attendance doubled.

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