A Christian Christmas

Eli Anton, Staff Writer

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Photo of a row of candle holders that have cutouts spelling “Joy”, by David Orsborne from Pexels.

Even with how mainstream holidays have gotten, everyone still has their own ways of celebrating. For Sarah Whitchurch, secretary of Elgin Community College’s Spartan Christian Fellowship, these traditions are symbolic.

Leading up to Christmas, starting as early as October, Whitchurch will start practicing her favorite Christmas songs and hymns on the piano. She also contributes to the charity organization “Operation Christmas Child.” 

As December nears closer, she will also go caroling and put up small decorations in her room. As for outside her room, her family puts up a Christmas tree with a star topper, stuffed stockings for each person and a sign outside their house that says “Joy.” Her family also organizes their very own “Secret Santa,” except knowing who got who is okay as long as the gift is a secret. Being one of seven members in her family, gift shopping can get expensive.

During Christmas Eve, she attends a service at her church where sermons are given on biblical history, Jesus and what he represents to the church. They then sing hymns such as “What Child is This?” and “O little town of Bethlehem,” finishing by singing the last two songs in candlelight only.

On Christmas day, Whitchurch and her family read the accounts of Jesus’ birth according to Matthew and Luke, then pass their stockings stuffed with candy and small gifts followed by their single presents to each other. Later on, they will sit down at the table to eat a delicious holiday meal, then enjoy the rest of the day casually.

As for Santa, Whitchurch grew up knowing he was just a story for children; her mom was against the idea of Santa entirely. Whitchurch herself enjoys the more classical tale of St. Nicholas but is generally neutral on the concept as a whole. On the other hand, Whitchurch finds the music that’s been popularized on the radio to be fun.

“Love, hope and joy in [what Jesus has done for us] embodies what Christmas means to me,” Whitchurch said. “I’m able to enjoy the other things, though.”

For Whitchurch and her family, Christmas is a time to give honor to Jesus for who he is and what he has given to humanity.