Monday, December 24, 2012 there will be an outdoor family service at 7 pm at the Celebration Lutheran Church located at 2500 Shaw Road Puyallup, WA 98374. The service will last a half hour and will begin with the singing of traditional Christmas songs, the Christmas story will be read, and then have prayers. Pastor Paul Reese, explained details of the service, “There will be a couple in the congregation that will act as Mary and Joseph and have their little baby as Jesus. We will have our service at a stable that we built in the woods. We put hay in the stable all the kids can dress up as shepherds, wise men, donkeys, angels, etc. We have costumes and parents that help deck them out.
Service is started with the opening song and kids parade on the stable area and sit with the holy family during the holy service. Afterward, we go inside for coffee, hot chocolate, and Christmas cookies.”
Pastor Paul informed us that there is another service that night, that’s not as kid friendly at 9 pm that is indoors and lasts 45 to 50 minutes. According to Pastor Paul, the first service that was explained is more kid and family friendly. Services everyone receives a candle, Pastor Paul explained, “Everyone can have a candle, but not everyone can have fire on their candle. We leave it up to the parents to determine if their child can have a candle and not get themselves burned. We’ve never had a tragedy.”
“Christmas under the Stars,” the name of the outdoor service has taken place since 1981. Pastor Paul commented about the service: “It’s magic [Pastor laughs] especially if we get a little drift of snow or a real clear sparkling night. People come back to the service again and again and it becomes part of their family traditions. We have between 250 to 300 people that come and if it rains they come with their umbrellas. Mostly, we’ve had pretty good weather. If we get a little snow in the air, it’s just real magical.”
When asked the best thing about the service, Pastor Paul replied, “Oh the kids; how the children dress up and feel like that they’re part of the Christmas story. It’s having a real baby crying which represents the first Christmas as being a messy sort of thing. Kids sometimes will be playing with the hay. The children just make it wonderful.”
Pastor Paul revealed that the church is, “just a loving, friendly Lutheran church.”
Pastor Paul recommends anyone to come to the “Christmas under the Stars” services, “Anybody can come, but I think it’s especially good for families with children especially young children in particular. A lot of times children are so excited at Christmas time and think they can sit still for an hour indoors; it didn’t happen with my kids. This service is 30 minutes long and it’s the Christmas story including carols everyone loves. It’s just a good service for folks who want to remember what Christmas is really all about.”
For more information please visit: celebrationlutheranchurch.org.
By: Carly Calabrese, staff for Tacoma.com