Families and friends gathered Sunday afternoon at Antioch Baptist Church to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas at the church’s annual Christmas Concert.
Rodney Lackey, Antioch Baptist pastor, said he believes that it is good for families to attend Christmas events because those events uphold the whole picture of what Christmas is really about.
Lackey said that the Christmas Concert “keeps me focused on how much God loves me and the great sacrifice that was made on his behalf — that even in the midst of everything else, God loves me.”
Christmas has become an increasingly commercialized holiday, with the focus turning toward presents instead of the love of family and Christ.
“I think that with the changing times, the media, television and everything else, we have kind of gotten off track with what it is really all about, which is spreading love,” Lackey said.
“It is all about families coming together to celebrate the greatest gift of all — when our lord and savior Jesus Christ was born,” said David Carter, vice chairman of the church’s deacon board.
Avery Niles, Antioch’s finance chairman, said he is reminded in the Bible about how Christ is the reason for the season.
“People in society have programed everyone to thinking that it is all about gifts,” Niles said. “When you look at the family itself — husband and wife, son and daughter, aunts, uncles — that’s what unity is all about. That’s the real reason that Christ died. Christ is the center of the family.”
Niles said that true Christians need to adapt with change and keep the main focus, which is Christ, who came and died for all of our sins.
“It is just a rededication to what Christ is all about when you come to Christmas singings,” Niles said.
Gabriel Copeland, 11, a choir member who said he enjoys being able to sing with his friends, said that he has a good voice and singing is what he likes to do.
This Christmas, Copeland isn’t thinking so much about presents; he simply enjoys spending time with his family and friends.
Waneka Roberts, a member of the Mill Street church, said she enjoys participating in the church choir because she likes the songs and the movements that they do.
“Young people, most of the time, don’t want to be in the choir because they think that it is boring, but we try and make it fun and still lift his (Jesus’) name up at the same time,” Roberts said.
Roberts believes that spending time with your family is a gift because some people aren’t able to do so.
“I can’t tell you why some people would get so commercial,” Roberts said. “It has gotten really out of hand. People forget the true meaning of Christmas.”
Roberts said “the true meaning of Christmas is Christ, and without Christ, there would be no Christmas.”
Also, due to the economy, some families are choosing to celebrate a little differently this holiday season. Roberts’ family is sponsoring two families in need this year.
“Instead of exchanging gifts to the nieces, nephews and cousins, we are going to use that money for them and give them whatever they need,” Roberts said of the families.
Manee Moreno, who came to watch the choir, believes that Christmas is more about giving than receiving.
“My family has talked about how Christmas can be overrated now because people expect a lot of things but they don’t see the necessities around the community,” Moreno said.
Moreno’s family plans to give food to the homeless on Christmas Day.
“Christmas is not about getting presents or giving away presents, it is about the love and the joy that Christmas is really all about,” Moreno said.