MURFREESBORO, Tenn (WKRN) — This year churches across the country had to restructure their Christmas Eve services to keep congregation members safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some cancelled their services altogether. Some livestreamed them online. Others got even more creative.
World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro took their Christmas Eve service outside.
Lawn chairs replaced pews, fire pits replaced indoor heating, and coats and scarfs replaced traditional Christmas sweaters on the lawn of the mega church.
“We just put some layers on. We’re by the fire, the church provides the fire. We came early and our whole family is coming. So, we came early enough to get seats by the fire and we’re just enjoying it,” said congregation member Don Day.
Lead pastor Allen Jackson says when the pandemic hit, they closed the church for ten weeks, then started hosting outdoor services in May. He never thought that would continue through Christmas.
“We decided to do two services so that people would have plenty of room to spread out and be comfortable and find their own place,” Pastor Jackson said. “We said we’d come for two weeks and go back inside, and we’re still here.”
Seven months later, a non-traditional Christmas Eve, complete with individually wrapped communion wine and wafers, is just what some people needed to get over the hump of 2020.
“It’s amazing what God’s doing and the faith that we have in him and Christ our Savior, and I think you can see that in everybody and the happiness that they have here,” congregation member Craig Dame said.
“We didn’t know what this year was going to bring, but we feel very blessed that we’re able to meet,” congregation member Shelly Day said.
“I never imagined we’d do Christmas Eve outside. We’re making a memory today and I think of all the Christmas Eve services I’m sure we’ll never forget this one,” Pastor Jackson said.