DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — As COVID-19 and the omicron variant sweep across the nation, many churches have canceled in-person Christmas services, but will churches in the Wiregrass take a different approach to services this year?

Christmas and Christmas Eve are some of the most attended services all year and last year with COVID-19 taking over the way we worship, big crowds are expected for this weekend’s services, meaning the Christmas services throughout the Wiregrass will look and feel just like they did pre-COVID.

“This Christmas Eve is going to be very different. Last Christmas eve we actually did a couple of different services, we were spaced out, there were still some people hesitant to come,” Taylor Rutland, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Dothan said.

While other churches nationwide are planning outdoor services or are switching to online worship churches right here in the Wiregrass will celebrate the birth of Jesus similar to normal.

“You can still take personal precautions too, like anything you feel like you need to do,” Rusty Firth, Worship Pastor at Harvest Church of Dothan said.

After a year of going online and social distancing, churches like First Baptist and Harvest Church of Dothan prepare to welcome both familiar and new people in their doors. With the state, COVID-19 positivity rate almost doubling in the past two days churches in the Wiregrass seem to be moving forward as is.

“Especially on Christmas some don’t have families around and some that are here celebrating with their families,” Dan Skipper the small group Pastor at Harvest Church of Dothan said. “We think it is pretty essential.”

Despite the rise in omicron cases, both churches tell WDHN News worshiping together this year will make Christmas feel normal once again.

“It’s a family service so all the families come together, which we really haven’t been able to do because of covid-19,” Rutland said. “I know our congregation is really looking forward to coming together and celebrate the birth of Christ.”

Both churches invite anyone in the community to attend their Christmas Eve services and despite having no COVID-19 protocols they said anyone can freely wear a mask and practice those guidelines. Anyone who is unable to attend tonight’s services they’ll have services again on Sunday.