WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — This weekend, many of you celebrated Christmas by spending time with family and friends, opening presents, enjoying a feast and perhaps attending church to remember the true meaning of the holiday. We visited four very different church services throughout the weekend to experience how different denominations celebrate the same story.
“It’s my favorite time of year: Christmas,” Father Bob Kus of Saint Mary’s Catholic Church said.
“Merry Christmas,” Pastor Eric Porterfield of Winter Park Baptist said.
“Merry Christmas,” Discipleship Pastor at the Sanctuary of Wilmington Mitchell Johnson said.
“Merry Christmas to all of you,” Korean Presbyterian Church of Wilmington member Yil Kim said.
Many cultures, one message.
“Christmas is the birth of Jesus, the Savior of the world,” Father Kus said.
“Celebrating the great news of the gift of Jesus and His birth,” Pastor Porterfield agreed.
“God gave His son, Jesus Christ, to the world. To me, that was the ultimate gift ever given,” exclaimed Johnson.
“We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord and praise God,” Kim said excitedly.
The small congregation at Wilmington’s Korean Presbyterian Church gathered together to sing and dance about the good news.
“In the hymn, Christmas Day is just a ‘Silent Night,’ but in Korea (it is) a little bit crowded and very joyful,” laughed Kim.
Saint Mary’s Catholic Church was filled with the sounds of classical guitars and sweet songs at the Spanish Mass on Christmas Eve.
“We have contemporary music and a Latino band and children’s choir and gospel choir,” said Father Kus who leads all six Christmas masses each year. “So, every mass is a different style.”
Soulful celebrations took place at the Sanctuary of Wilmington.
“We love to dance, we love to shout,” Johnson said. “We’re very boisterous. We like to say ‘hallelujah.’ We like to say ‘amen.’ We like to lift up holy hands.”
The congregation did just that as the band played classic carols with a twist and sang reverent hymns. Members also took holy communion to not only celebrate the birth of Jesus but also the forgiveness of our sins through His death and resurrection.
At Winter Park Baptist Church, Pastor Eric Porterfield lit the final Advent candle, which represents the light of the world: Christ. Members quietly reflected on God’s love and worshipped together through song.
Big, small, loud, quiet, in English, Spanish or Korean, the message of Christmas is delivered in many ways, but the birth of a baby in a manger has the same meaning for Christians around the world.
“I love the truth that, through Jesus, through our faith in Him, we’re all one in the Church, regardless of our denomination, regardless of our tradition,” Porterfield said.
We’d like to thank all the churches that allowed us to be part of their Christmas celebrations.