Festive songs accented with a folk flair and the reading of Scripture filled the Greenback Depot on Saturday as part of the town’s sixth annual community Christmas celebration.
Though rain poured outside, community members huddled inside to sing carols to commemorate the beginning of the Christmas season. Plenty of entertainment was offered throughout the evening, but gathering the community is part of the Christmas celebration’s goal.
“We started doing this about six years ago, and it was just presented as a possibility for us to be able to invite the community to just come and gather together, to allow the community to start to fellowship and look forward to celebrating Christmas together, and it’s just to come together and have fun, sing the Christmas carols and be able to see it, visualize it, too,” the Rev. Ron Sabo, pastor of Baker’s Creek and Pine Grove Presbyterian churches, said.
Madisonville Christian contemporary group Eye2Sky hosted the Christmas song performance, adding personal touches of violins to classic Christmas hymns such as “O Holy Night” and “Silent Night” to fit the laid-back atmosphere.
“This is actually our sixth season doing the caroling and living Nativity, and we usually play every Sunday morning at Baker’s Creek Presbyterian and Pine Grove Presbyterian,” Casey Cooper, Eye2Sky pianist, said.
Like Sabo, Cooper believes the community celebration invokes togetherness, but the event can also be a turning point in allowing others to share their faith.
“The community Christmas event I think is important because it brings families and people in the community together to share the good news of Jesus Christ,” Cooper said. “Then they can take that out into the world and share that with others.”
The Christmas story is a driving factor throughout the celebration. After Eye2Sky played their final notes, Baker’s Creek and Pine Grove church members took the stage to perform the story of Christ’s birth.
“We just kind of read straight from the Gospel according to Luke and allow you to see it at the same time,” Sabo said. “We just pray that the Lord will touch you and begin to work in your life as well.”
Church members set up props and held a dress rehearsal the day prior.
“It certainly has (grown),” Cooper said. “I think people go out and share what they’ve seen and invite others to come.”
Continuing community-based celebrations is part of the churches’ hopes.
“To me, it’s just that opportunity to come together,” Sabo said. “The community does a lot of pretty neat things. They have a community Thanksgiving service, so this kind of dovetails into that and allows us to continue to move forward. It’s our opportunity to celebrate with the community and come together to do that.”
Baker’s Creek will hold a Christmas program at 6 p.m. Sunday, while Pine Grove will share a Christmas program at 6 p.m. Dec. 15.