Churches prep for their biggest night of the year

Tyler Clarke
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Prince Albert Alliance Church Rev. Craig Hollands directs a dress rehearsal of the church’s Christmas Eve service on Monday -- a multifaceted event, which between two services is expected to bring in almost 500 people. 

A centerpiece to the Christian religion, its namesake holiday will see local churches bursting at the seams this week.


Anticipating up to 500 people on Christmas Eve, Prince Albert Alliance Church membership held a dress rehearsal on Monday night in order to straighten out kinks in their multi-faceted service, which is part performance piece, sermon, music, drama, video and spoken word.

“It’s just using as many forms as we can to communicate,” Rev. Craig Hollands said of their two Christmas Eve Services -- one at 6 p.m. and another at 7:30 p.m.

“The goal is to make the service one that is interesting and appealing, but I think that the more ways we present the message the more likelihood it is that each individual person will capture it.”

A centerpiece to the service will be a short skit by the church’s drama group.

Called “Stolen Jesus,” the play is centred on a public Nativity scene display wherein someone has stolen the characters of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.

“The whole premise of it is, we need to invite Jesus into our lives, so the punch line of the whole thing is, if you find the stolen Jesus out there, why don’t you ask him in?” Hollands summarized.  

“Christmas is more than just a nice story … It’s a story that we have a choice of how we respond to it.”

The First Baptist Church of Prince Albert is also holding a Christmas Eve service, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. Pastor Michael Engbers is expecting that between 150 and 200 people will show up.

Similar to the Prince Albert Alliance Church, the centerpiece to their service will be a skit -- theirs involving a group of girls in Grades 2 to 6 who are performing the short play “What to Get Baby Jesus for a Gift.”

“Jesus doesn’t need a gift from us, but he would love to have our lives focus on him instead of all the stuff that surrounds us,” Engbers summarized.

“Christ is the centre of Christmas -- he’s the reason why we have it, and I think we all try to find ways to help our community realize that there’s a bigger picture here than what’s under the tree.”

The Beulah Land Baptist Church has been working through the Christmas story over the last few weeks, and recently concluded with a Christmas gathering, pastor David Webster said, noting that there are plenty of other churches that hold Christmas Eve masses for those will still want to take part in that.

Pre-Christmas services have followed closely the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, since, as Webster puts it, “He is Christmas. He is the heart and soul of the celebration of Christmas.”

“There has never been an individual in history who has changed the world, that has had his impact on the world -- no personality, none, like Jesus Christ has.”

Most other churches in Prince Albert are holding Christmas services -- either on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day itself.

Those why typically worship at the Sacred Heart Cathedral should note that their Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services are still on, but will take place in alternate accommodations due to ongoing renovations. These accommodations include the Rivier Academy auditorium and the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary Chapel. 

Organizations: Prince Albert Alliance Church, First Baptist Church of Prince Albert, Beulah Land Baptist Church Sacred Heart Cathedral Rivier Academy Presentation of Mary Chapel

Geographic location: Prince Albert

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