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Happy Birthday, Jesus!
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By Mike Toth



Every Christmas Eve Pastor Greg Brawn starts the early evening service with a gleam in his eye in one of the more unique London area services. In the audience, whether by reputation or experience, young visitors to Byron United Church wait in anticipation of what will happen next. Byron U’s celebration of Jesus’ birth may look a bit different from year to year, but is always a party.

“I was put in charge of the kids Christmas Eve services in 2007,” says Brawn, “and I asked the question, ‘What would kids enjoy,’ especially if they don’t go to church regularly. We came to believe they’d like balloons, streamers, jazzy music, and even birthday cake.”

The first year at the end of the service they released streamers from the front and back of the church, and 200 white balloons cascaded from the balcony. “The children started running around trying to grab the balloons to take them home, but the adults started batting them around,” Brawn laughs. A tradition was born. The story of Jesus birth is central to the evening, with the birthday elements a way to get children engaged. My family was in attendance at that first celebration, and my kids have never forgotten it.

As many of the families that come to the service do not attend church or may be former church members there is an attempt by Brawn and staff to connect with them both before and after the service. While it is difficult in a forty-five minute service to make any deep connect the children are sent home with presents and invited back the evening before New Years Eve.

The pre-New Years Eve party is again focused on children, and goes from 6-8 pm on December 30th. There is a live DJ with lighting and games. The venue is much more conducive to building relationship, and Brawn is sure to engage all the parents, and give tours of the Sunday school facilities to any who are interested.

Byron United’s Christmas Eve birthday party will be held on December 24 at 6:00 pm. Come help celebrate the birth of Gods’ greatest gift to humanity.