PORTLAND, Ore. -- In a sorting room at the side of the Rolling Hills Community Church, volunteers put together more than four thousand programs for Christmas Eve services.
Senior Pastor Bill Town knows thousands will turn out.
“Its an opportunity,” he said. “If people are coming and this is one of the only times of the year they are coming, you want to take advantage of that and be honoring to God in what you do,” Town said.
He’s been telling the Rolling Hills community to be careful about their spending this year, urging them not to go into debt to celebrate Christmas.
His Christmas message will focus on the disruption the season brings to our lives and the opportunity to look for more meaning.
“Gift giving, gift receiving that’s all great but it’s a shadow of Christmas, that’s just the surface of Christmas,” said Town. “I think our souls really long for something deeper,” he said. “And that’s what we don’t want to miss.”
In downtown Portland, a man cleans the doors inside the First Unitarian Church where 1,500 are expected for Christmas Eve services.
The Reverand Thomas Disrud feels the pressure.
“There’s some pressure. We want to have a meaningful service for folks,” he said. “Its an important holiday and this may be the one time that they’re here during the year,” said Rev. Disrud.
He hopes those who attend come away with the understanding that Christmas is a wonderful time.
“We celebrate the story,” said Rev. Disrud. “We don’t know if the story is real or not, but we celebrate the story of one who would grow to change the world and inspire the world,” he said.
In Beaverton Fr. John Kerns walks through the construction site where his new parish is being built. His congregation meets at PCC Rock Creek. He knows there is opportunity in the crowds that gather for Christmas.
"There's a lot of commercialsm this time of year," said Fr. Kerns. "But at the same time, it means everybody's paying attention to Christmas. So its our job to capitalize on that and help them find the true meaning of Christmas, which is what Jesus came to teach us. Love one another and love of God," said Fr.