Outdoor Christmas Eve services draw large crowds despite chilly temps


LENEXA, Kan. – Christmas Eve was a little different for churches this year. Because of coronavirus many streamed services online. But a handful took their candlelight services outdoors. 

At Community Covenant Church there were camels.

“It will be a challenge keeping him straight, it’s a little bit different than walking a dog,” Joseph said, holding “Gus.”

There were also donkeys and wisemen, even if those wisemen admit they didn’t make the wisest choices in adding winter accessories to their costumes. 

“It’s freezing I have these hand warmers but they are still not enough it will never be enough,” Dylan Joos said.

Community Covenant Church moved its services outside the sanctuary where seating had been by ticket only for other services to help with social distancing because of the coronavirus.

“It’s not just for a few it’s for the whole world, so the more people we can get in here the better,” church member Charlie Mitts said.

At the first of two services 140 people gathered around firepits in the church parking lot to hear the story of Jesus’s birth and to sing Christmas hymns. If people got too cold they could watch the service from their car, and hear the band with the windows rolled up through their radio. 

For Beverly Amundson who is in her 80s, an outdoor service meant she could attend. 45 minutes in single digit wind chills probably not doctor prescribed.

“That could be but it’s sure good for my spirit,”Amundson said.

It’s not quite the same as a traditional service in a year outside of a pandemic.

“I miss hugs, I miss seeing people’s smiles but it’s nice to have community,” she said.

But those candles certainly lit up the night sky as they sang “Silent Night”

“This could become a tradition for us in the future of a way to serve the community and bring people together on Christmas Eve,” Pastor David McCowan said.



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