By Erin Jones

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – After having to limit capacity or cancel Christmas Eve services altogether last year, many services are back in person.

Some North Texas church services are back in person for Christmas Eve. (Credit: Erin Jones/CBSDFW.COM)

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Churches are taking precautions to try and make sure everyone is safe.

For the Venegas family, attending Christmas Eve mass at Cathedral Guadalupe in downtown Dallas is an annual tradition.

“When we moved here eight years ago, we knew no one so we started coming to this particular church just because it’s the most traditional,” Ashlee Venegas said. “Last year we didn’t get to come so we’re excited. We always go to dinner after and then Highland Park. It’s just nice to be back as a family.”

Seeing so many familiar faces in person was a joy for Bishop Edward Burns.

“This is just fantastic when the community gathers in order to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and to see them all to come together in faith and in harmony,” he said. “Of course, we have to be very conscious of how we do it and be most responsible.”

Masks and hand sanitizer were available as soon as you walked through the door.

At Highland Park United Methodist Church, services were held outside. The weather was perfect for outdoor seating.

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“It was special,” Melissa Frantz said.

“It was nice to be outside with a lot of people there.”

“One of the things that we believe as Christians is it’s important for us to be physically together,” Rev. Matt Tuggle said.

“While so many of our people have been able to worship online, to see so many people together for the first time in a long time you could just feel the spirit of God.”

“It meant a lot,” Brad Ellerman said.

“It was a hard period of time to be away from people we loved. We have family traveling here to be with us and it is very meaningful.”

The last couple of years have given many a new appreciation for being able to be with their loved ones on Christmas.

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“It just puts that spirit back in us,” Paule Botouli said. “It makes us come alive I would say.”

Erin Jones