GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Filled with songs of the season and spiritual messages, the Historical Society of Gulfport’s Joy of Christmas featured a tour of the five historical churches in the Handsboro Community.
"We figured we would get a head start and kickoff the season before any other churches and get you in the mood," said Courtney Thompson, member of the Historical Society of Gulfport. "People leave so blessed."
Not only was joy at the heart of the messages at each of the five churches, but those who joined in the tour got a brief history lesson into how the centers of worship fit into the oldest settlement in the city of Gulfport.
“When you swap stories with everybody, your knowledge of the history grows,” said Bobby Tyson, Pastor of Handsboro Presbyterian Church. “It brings joy to everybody here and everybody gets into the spirit knowing that we are a historical place.”
Children and adults alike were also able to get a sense of how different denominations celebrate Christmas.
"To see how each congregation responds is just so special," Thompson said. "I'm Baptist, but to be in a Methodist or Presbyterian Church is just so special."
No matter the circumstances of life, all in attendance could leave with a sense of joy.
"It's been a hard year for me, so to have a celebration is wonderful and perks me up tremendously," said Norma Loposser, member of Handsboro Presbyterian Church.
The five churches taking part in the tour included the Handsboro Presbyterian Church, Handsboro Baptist Church, Riley Chapel United Methodist Church and First Missionary Baptist Church of Handsboro.