Maple Grove United Methodist Church will hold a special service to teach about the beauty inside its sanctuary and peoples homes created by Christmas decorations.

At 11 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 28, the first Sunday of Advent in the Christian calendar, Maple Grove, along with many other churches, will be holding a “Hanging of the Greens” service with the goal of reclaiming the beauty and meaning of the symbols seen everywhere in preparation for Christmas.

“When Christian missionaries and evangelists first arrived in Europe, they found that the non-Christian folks living there had many traditions for the coldest, deepest, darkest winter days,” said the Rev. Michael Bailey, retired district superintendent of the United Methodist Church. “Instead of ‘putting down’ those folks and their traditions, the missionaries and evangelists wisely used the northern Europeans symbols to teach them about Jesus.”

Most people have no idea they use evergreens, lights, holly and ivy, a Christmas tree, mistletoe and all kinds of other symbols during Christmas season.

“Many don’t know that Santa Claus was based on a generous Christian pastor and bishop, Saint Nicholas of Myra in Asia Minor,” said Bailey. “Almost everything we use to celebrate Christmas — from candy canes to Santa — all point to Jesus’ birth in church history. We want to reclaim those teachings so that every time someone sees one of the decorations of Christmas, they’ll think of the Christ and the gift of the incarnation.”

All are welcome at the service. Maple Grove United Methodist Church is at 79 Maple Grove Church Road.

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