By Erin Hassanzadeh

SHAKOPEE, Minn. (WCCO) — On Christmas day, some people in the Twin Cities got a rare chance to gather for church services while others found a way to celebrate from a distance.

This year, faith carried some people through, and there were plenty of lessons learned along the way. After a year of unprecedented challenges, now is the time for reflection.

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“It has taught us that we have to rely on god,” said Rita Commodore, a member of St. Peter Claver Catholic Church in St. Paul.

At St. Peter Claver, members were excited to gather for Christmas on Friday to foster a little faith.

“When we have changes, when we can get together like this or Zoom meetings, it helps,” Commodore said.

Many, like Tony Cloyd, gathered virtually this Christmas.

“We did the best that we could to make it as if we were there and make it meaningful,” he said.

The Cloyds streamed Westwood Community Church’s Christmas Eve service in the comfort of their Shakopee own home.

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“I gathered some candles and…we put them on the table and we all sat around,” he said.

The message of the service was about finding the light still left in the world.

“With this year, it’s felt like a dark year and like a lot of people are hurting, so for my wife and I it was a message of hope.”

For many, faith nourishes the soul and provides a resource amid chaos, reminding the faithful that they’re never alone.

“It’s good to know that God is always with me,” Commodore said.

There is always a lesson to learn, and there was plenty to learn this year. For many, like the Cloyds, the future holds the promise of hope.

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“We know in our hearts that there is hope and there’s a light in the world,” Cloyd said, “and we have a lot to look forward to.”

Erin Hassanzadeh