There the baby Jesus lay as children stacked jars of peanut butter and jelly at his feet.
The sanctuary of North Augusta’s St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church was filled with young families and their Christmas offerings Monday evening as the church celebrated one of three Christmas Eve services.
The jars of jelly that children gave as gifts to baby Jesus will later be donated to needy children through the Community Ministry of North Augusta, said the Rev. David Thompson, the rector of St. Bartholomew’s.
“We’re going to give this food to children in our community,” he said. “Tonight, they’re gifts for the baby Jesus.”
It was a service full of laughter, music and “controlled chaos,” as Thompson put it.
Kid’s hands shot up for the chance to rain holy water and blessings down on the creche as the congregation sang O Little Town of Bethlehem.
Courtney Connelly, 11, of Augusta, read prayers of the people.
“For the carols that we sing reminding us of the birth of your son,” she began, to which the congregation replied, “We thank you, Lord.”
Thompson told the story of Christ’s birth, recorded in the Gospel of Luke.
He invited children to step forward as he read from the children’s book Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale.
“Joseph was cold and Mary was weary, but there was no room at the inn,” he read. “Where would they sleep tonight?”
The animals welcomed them into the stable, the book explained. Jesus was born there, in the humblest of places, with the animals all around him.
“That little one,” Thompson said, “came for the whole world.”