Churches of all denominations will be a popular place for gathering tonight and Christmas Day, as families celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
Immanuel Lutheran Church Pastor Jim Erickson said he believes people, no matter their faith and how often they typically go to church, want to dedicate some time to remember Jesus being born.
"There always is an increase in how many people come to worship during Christmas," Erickson said. "I think a lot of people recognize the foundation of Christmas comes from the hand of God. I think many come because it is an American family custom, where the entire family is together and attend church."
News photo by Steve Schulwitz
Christianity and worship come to the forefront during the holidays, as more families attend church services to celebrate the birth of Christ.
Rev. Arthur Duchnowicz said he also has noticed an increase in attendance at his parish, St. Ignatius, in Rogers City, on not only Christmas, but also Easter. He said even people who may not have strong beliefs in Christ still come to church.
"Many may not practice faith on a daily basis, but make the time during the holidays and we are always happy to see them, even if it is only for a holiday," Duchnowicz said. "It is always our hope they will return more often and always encourage it."
With much of the Christmas holiday focused on Santa, gifts, baking and making plans, Erickson said it is easy for people to get distracted and for Christ's birth to get overshadowed.
"There are a lot of things that get in the way of remembering the real reason of Christmas," Erickson said. "It obscures the manger and more importantly it takes away from the person who was in it. People try to create the perfect Christmas, but they need to realize that only God can orchestrate the perfect Christmas no matter what people do, or how hard they try to plan one."
Duchnowicz said Christmas has become much larger now than what it was years ago when people's main celebration was centered on the events in the stable in Bethlehem. He said now people who don't even believe in God celebrate it for non-religious reasons.
"It has become such a custom that even people who are not Christians are immersed in the holiday and it's celebration," Duchnowicz said. "The celebrations are somewhat separated, but many celebrate both aspects as one. We always try to remind people about Christ's birth, but it can be a challenge. That's why we do what we do. To spread the word of God and hope the people who only come to church on the holidays, will begin to come more often and become closer to Him."
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.