Special Sunday for the Valley's religious community

The musical message and the spoken word from Pastor Jim Franklin are much the same on Christmas Eve.

As the congregation filled the pews of Cornerstone Church, they weighed the importance of the holiday.

Pastor Franklin said, "That's what Christmas is all about - that Jesus left heaven and came to dwell among man. He's Immanuel - God with us."

The birth in Bethlehem 2000-plus years ago undoubtedly changed the world's direction. And remembering this birthday tends to change the population inside churches all over the world.

"This is the Super Bowl for us at the church this is the day we all come together and recognize that if this day hasn't happened, if Jesus hasn't been born of the Virgin Mary, then nothing else would've mattered," Pastor Franklin said.

So between the photos booths and the electric trees, this spectacle is serious, even if it comes with a lot of the Super Bowl's attractions, like the well-choreographed pregame show at Central Community Church.

Entertainment mixed with homily -- special celebration intertwined with traditional outreach.

Pastor Henry Pauls said, "It's not any different than any other day. It's an opportunity to meet God, to have an encounter with him, and to be a blessing, to receive a blessing but also to share with a community of faith around you."
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