For many in our community, Christmas Eve is a time to gather with family, sit by the fire and enjoy a good Christmas movie. For families who attend church services at Willowbrook at Madison, it is also a time to come together briefly with family, friends and neighbors for a Christmas Eve candlelight service.
“For me, this is the most ideal thing to do on Christmas Eve,” says Mark Hankins, a member at Willowbrook at Madison. “It reminds you of why we are celebrating this next day.”
At Willowbrook at Madison’s Christmas Eve service, attendees sing classic Christmas carols “kicked up a notch,” according to campus pastor Kevin Perry. The setting is idyllic as attendees hold candles throughout the singing portion of the service.
Children enjoy the service as just as much as adults do. Tara Cagle, another Willowbrook at Madison church member, says the candlelight service is one of her son’s favorite things to do on Christmas Eve. It is a regular part of the Cagles’ Christmas tradition, and her son loves inviting his friends to join them.
Mark Hankins says he likes that it helps take his kids’ focus off of Santa for a little while and refocus that excitement on the story of Jesus’ birth.
During the Christmas Eve service, attendees will watch video of a short message Pastor Mark McClelland will have given earlier in the evening at the Willowbrook Baptist church, Huntsville campus. This is a typical service for Willowbrook at Madison. This church has been using a multisite model for the past several years. This model allows churches to utilize resources well while adapting to the needs of local congregants.
“Every year, Pastor Mark talks about a different aspect of the Christmas story and always presents the Gospel,” says Tara. The Gospel message is at the center of every service, and the Christmas Eve service is no exception. There is always a baptismal pool prepared for anyone who would like to be baptized during the service.
For Tara and her husband John, the candlelight service has been a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Christmas with friends and neighbors who do not typically attend a church. A few years ago, they were able to bring the foreign exchange student living with them to church, and they enjoyed seeing her wonder at the beautiful singing and candlelight. The Cagles regularly invite other neighbors who do not usually celebrate Christmas but always enjoy the singing, candles and the message.
“It’s just a special time to be with family and focus on the reason we are celebrating,” says Mark Hankins.
Willowbrook at Madison invites you to join them at their Christmas Eve service this year on Saturday, December 24th at 6:00 p.m. at 7105 Highway 72 West.