The last-minute panic of the Christmas season is upon us again. It'sdown to five and counting. No time left for picking out the perfect gift. Clappers and Chia Pets for everybody left on the list. Forget the homemade Christmas goodies of days gone by. Slice, bake and fake it all the way.
If the mad rush has gotten to you, then maybe a little infusion of the real reason for the season will help get you through. Several area churches have planned special celebrations this weekend and invite you to attend.
Continuing a long-standing Christmas tradition, Pasadena United Methodist Church will present a live nativity scene from 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday and Monday evenings, in front of the church at 61 Ritchie Highway.
Drop Stop and visit or drive by and view church members, families and youth in the congregation participating in this holiday event.
The adult choir of Pasadena Assembly of God, 206 Pleasant view Avenue, will present the cantata "Hope Was Born" at 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Ben Rainey will direct the choir.
The youth choir at Lake Shore Baptist Church, 4613 Mountain Road, will present a special program, "Deck the Malls," at 7 p.m. Sunday evening.
The presentation features a modern twist on the traditional theme with contemporary Christian music that will appeal to young and old alike.
Bring the whole family to a concert and sing-a-long at 7 p.m. Sunday at Community United Methodist Church on Fort Smallwood Road. The Chancel Band will be performing under the direction of Wayne Smith and David Floyd.
Bringing Christmas to 50 needy families in the Pasadena was madea little easier by shoppers at Angel's and Lauer's Super Thrift recently.
Earlier this month, Mountain Road Optimists club conducted its annual food drive at both stores and according to John O'Hara, president, more than 120 cases of food and $1,600 was donated by Pasadena shoppers.
"We were pleased by the response and the generosity ofthe community," O'Hara said. "We collected enough to give each family on our list two cases of food, a turkey and perishable items plus atoy for the youngster" he said. "But we could not have accomplished this without the great support of the community and the help of two of our members: Mike Collins and Frank Mathias," he added.
MRO members will be meeting at 6:15 p.m. tonight in the auxiliary gym at Chesapeake High School to pack the boxes for delivery, and they could usesome additional volunteer packers.
Contact Collins at 437-1102.
Congregations and parishes in the area have scheduled special Christmas services and invite you and your family to worship with them this holiday season.
Community United Methodist Church, 8680 Fort Smallwood Road, has scheduled two services on Tuesday evening.
Families can attend the 7 p.m. service and enjoy a musical play presented by the Youth Choir, directed by Patricia Floyd.
The traditional candlelight service will begin at 11 p.m.
Emmanuel Lutheran, 8614 Fort Smallwood Road, will have a special Sunday church school program and two worship services on Tuesday evening.
At 6:30 p.m., students of the Sunday school will present their annual program called, "The Greatest Announcement." Following the program, the family servicewith reading and songs, will begin at 7 p.m.
Candlelight communion service will be at 11 p.m.
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 7859 Tick Neck Road, plans three services, two on Tuesday and one on Christmas morning.
At 7 o'clock, the Christmas Eve pageant and family Eucharist service will be celebrated with special music led by theYouth Choir, under the direction of Melissa Hudson.
At 11 p.m., the handbell and adult choirs will present a Festival of Music. It will include handbell and flute music, anthems and Christmas hymns. The festive celebration of the Eucharist will
begin at 11:30 p.m.
On Christmas morning, the Eucharist service will start at 10 a.m.
Galilee Lutheran Church, 4652 Mountain Road, has scheduled Christmas Eve services at 7:30 and 11 p.m.
The early service for families will include carols and candles. Holy Communion will be at the 11 p.m. service.
On Christmas Eve, a Christmas musical, "The Gift," will bepresented at the 7 and 9 o'clock services at Lake Shore Baptist Church, 4613 Mountain Road.
The musical, directed by Linda Kay Funk, will present the Christmas story through the eyes of the innkeeper andtax collector of Bethlehem.
Magothy United Methodist church, 3703Mountain Road, will have three services on Tuesday.
A family service will start at 5 p.m., to be followed by a combined service with Magothy Church of the Deaf at 7 p.m. Rev. Terri Cofiell will preside.
A traditional candlelight service will begin at 11 p.m.
Mount Carmel United Methodist Church, 4760 Mountain Road, will offer three services on Christmas Eve.
The 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. services will be similar in content, featuring lessons and carols. The earlier service will feature the children's choir and might be best for young children.