Christmas Ushers in Season of Hope at CV Church

By Michael J. ARVIZU

At Crescenta Valley Church, preparing for Christmas is a church community effort. It can be seen in everything, from the sanctuary Christmas tree to church decorations, and even the Christmastime events themselves.

Most of the ornaments in the church Christmas tree are hand-made by church members, as are the decorations in the church’s foyer. Inside the sanctuary, a life-size, hand-made Advent calendar has been erected on the north and south walls. It resembles the sides of a barn.

“We had this team of wonderfully creative people,” said Crescenta Valley Church co-Pastor Kathe Wood. “We still have more to do this week. There will be little changes each week.”

The goal is to give the church a vintage, warm, comfortable and traditional feel. Allowing church members to decorate the church is important, Wood said, because it gives people something they can be a part of.

The church also has a theme for Christmas. This year’s theme is “Christmas Changes Everything.” It is based on expectancy and having a sense of anticipation “about good things ahead,” said Wood.

“There’s a lot of dread about what might happen,” she said, speaking about the uncertainty of the nation’s economy and the so-called “fiscal cliff.” “So let’s anticipate good things. Let’s just have a sense of what good surprises are ahead for us.”

Wood believes that, even amid a cloud of uncertainty, good things are coming.

Talking about it nearly brings her to tears.

“I do know that good things are ahead and I know so many people are just having a hard time,” she said. “I know that Jesus is the one that gives people hope. So my tears are good tears. I know there is an answer, and it really is Jesus coming.”

From 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 8, the church will also host its annual live nativity scene and re-creation of Bethlehem, the traditional birthplace of Christ, in the church parking lot. CV Church is located at 4001 La Crescenta Ave. in La Crescenta.

Hosted by the church’s Kids’ Place! ministry, the nativity scene will have live animals and feature church members dressed up as villagers from Bethlehem.

“A live nativity is interactive, where people can relate more to their children and other people’s children to present a live event,” said Kids’ Place! Pastor Beth Krausse. “That’s what people love, to be a part of the story. We have so much television and things that we just watch. This way, they get to be part of the action.”

Free “gold coins” will be given to kids to spend at the event and guests will also be able to have their picture taken with the nativity scene characters.

For more information on the church’s activities throughout the year, call (818) 249-5805, or visit