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Church in Johnson City preparing for Christmas celebration

VIDEO: Church in Johnson City preparing for Christmas celebration

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}Normally, the members of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Johnson City set up their Christmas vigil decorations the week before. But because Christmas Eve came on a Sunday this year, they only had a few hours to get ready for the hundreds of people coming to attend the Christmas masses.JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}"Usually the Christmas mass overflowing," deacon Michael Jacobs said.

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}The church members said they were excited.

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}"I love it,” youth pastor Stephanie Mann said. “The midnight mass is going to be beautiful. I mean, this is it. This is what we've been waiting for. Everybody's been singing Christmas songs since Halloween, and we haven't."

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}Mann has waited to celebrate Christmas through the season of advent. Now she's helping decorate the church.

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}"A lot of people have already decorated for Christmas, and so they think it's kind of strange that we wait,” Mann said. “It's really exciting. There's that sense of urgency, and that kind of rush, which I like."

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}Each of the decorations has a special meaning.

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}"There's nothing allowed to touch the altar that isn't alive,” Mann said. “Every one of our plants has to be alive. All of the plants purchased were from people who wanted to remember their loved ones. The red and the white is the colors of Christmas. The white is for the innocence, the red is for the blood that he shed for us."

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}She said the mass is beautiful.

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}"We walk in, the music, the smells of the incense, the trees, the lights, the choir - it's perfect."

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}The churchgoers also said what Christmas means to them.

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}"The meaning of Christmas is actually our lord came into the world,” Jacobs said. “He became human and dwells among us. And it brings us to that fullness of who we are."

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}"You see the people bustling about, and they're very frustrated, and they're very angry,” Mann said. “Then I get to come tonight at midnight, and I get to sit and I get to look and listen, and just relax. This is finally the beginning of Christmas for me."

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}The church will hold 4 services on Christmas Eve and Christmas.

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