For many Christian churches, the Christmas Eve service is a special tradition that celebrates a holy night with family, music and prayer.

But this year, on the Coastside, the annual celebration won’t take place in person. Because of the stay-at-home orders put in effect to reduce the spread of coronavirus, Coastside churches are collaborating with KHMB Radio to provide a socially distanced candle-lighting and “Silent Night” service.

At 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve, participants are encouraged to light a candle, go outside their home, tune in to KHMB Radio and sing along with the Community United Methodist Church music ministry’s rendition of “Silent Night.” To learn more and access lyrics, visit hmbcumc.org. KHMB Radio can be found at 100.9 FM, 1710 AM and streamed online at khmbradio.com.

CUMC pastor Rev. Lisa Warner-Carey initiated the event by reaching out to local churches and the radio station several weeks ago. Warner-Carey said that, as of last week, the churches promoting the event include Coastside Lutheran, Holy Family Episcopal, Mariners, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Not being able to sing safely with other people and not being able to be in person for worship, this is what people are missing the most right now,” she said. “This gives us a different way to do that.”

Warner-Carey explained that in many churches the tradition of candle lighting and singing on Christmas Eve is the “high point of the worship service.” Though she hopes many churchgoers participate, she said anyone, regardless of their religion, is welcome to join on Thursday night.

“I think there can be a generosity of spirit of supporting neighbors in whatever spiritual tradition they’re a part of,” she said. “You can support somebody’s spiritual practice and tradition even if it’s not your own. Especially when it’s a once-a-year special occasion and sacred moment. This is a way they can still have that, even when they’re not able to gather in their churches.” r

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