Avalon Baptist Church celebrates with all Christmas traditions

By Jody Conrad | Special to the Press Gazette
Avalon Baptist Church's Christmas event featured a live nativity scene with angels on the roof of the barn.

When it comes to celebrating Christmas, Avalon Baptist Church knows how to do it in style. 

They invited the public to enjoy both their incredible drive-through display of lights and to join them for their annual Christmas Extravaganza on Dec. 10 and 11, where every tradition of celebrating the birth of Christ was on display.

Nothing says Christmas like the pre-schoolers singing "Away in a Manger" and grade-schoolers in angel costumes festooning the roof of a manager awaiting the arrival of Mary, Joseph, and the soon-to-be born Savior.

Santa was on hand to take pictures with the little ones at Avalon Baptist Church.

Avalon Baptist portrayed it all, including Santa on hand for photo opportunities, caroling singers, and performances by their Kingdom Boys Hip Hop Dancers. They even had their puppet team on hand to tell the real story of St. Nicholas.

And let’s not forget the food. The folks at Avalon Baptist know how to cook, offering hot dogs, homemade cookies and chili, and popcorn from their gingerbread hut. And all of this is free, every year, to locals who want to remember the kind of celebrations that were common among churches years ago.

Pastor Matt Cotten said the church transitioned from the traditional choir performance to their outdoor lawn party seven years ago.

Pre-schoolers sang "Jingle Bells" and "Away in a Manger" at Avalon Baptist Church.

“We wanted to celebrate the birth of our Lord with exuberance, and do something more inclusive," Cotten said. "Those who come get to be active participants rather than passive observers.

“Demonstrating the story of the Word made flesh is what Christmas is all about,” he added.

Cotten’s son Bretton added “Imagine a nativity and a cross. What we have here are a feeding trough and an execution device. What was intended for evil turned out to be symbols of hope, something people are in desperate need of these days.”

Pastor Matt said that Christmas is about transformation.

“As Christ was born into this world as a child, we all have chance to be born again into his Kingdom," he said. "We hope that when people come and celebrate with us, they’ll see the need for transformation in their own lives.

Avalon Baptist Church's drive through display begins with a lighted tunnel.

“We want to be known as the Christmas light church, because Jesus calls us to be the light in a dark world," Pastor Matt added. "If we can demonstrate our love to this community by putting up lights and exuberantly celebrating Christ’s birth, maybe some attending will have the light in their souls lit eternally.”