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A SAMPLING OF PLANNED SERMONS

Many churches skipped the sermon today for a service of "lessons and carols" in which the Gospel story of Christ's birth was read aloud between the singing of Christmas carols.

Those who planned to preach said they would touch on different aspects of the birth of Jesus. Here's what some Raleigh pastors said:

CHRISTIAN FAITH BAPTIST CHURCH

The Rev. David Forbes said he would counter some societal trends that tend to minimize the religious meaning of Christmas and speak of the benefits of an authentic Christian experience: God, meaning, community, eternal life.

GOOD SHEPHERD LUTHERAN CHURCH

The Rev. David Sloop said he would use the first chapter of the Gospel of John to ask, "What time is it?" and explore how God intervened in human history to bring Jesus to earth.

PULLEN MEMORIAL BAPTIST CHURCH

The Rev. Jack McKinney said he would talk about the gift of Jesus and how important it is for Christians to receive as well as to give. "When we give, we remain in control," he said. "When we receive, we relinquish that control."

UPPER ROOM CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST

Pastor Patrick Wooden, who spearheaded a campaign to put Christ back in Christmas, planned to preach from Hebrews 10, which portrays the Temple sacrifices as temporary, while Jesus' sacrificial death is permanent. Wooden said he would focus on the prophecies made of Jesus' arrival in the Old Testament.

WHITE MEMORIAL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

The Rev. Danny Dieth planned to focus on how Christians can stop to appreciate the "Good News" in a world dominated by bad news. "We want to celebrate the relationship between God and people through the coming of the God child," he said.

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