RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Thousands gathered for Christmas Eve mass at the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral in Raleigh.
"This is the day Jesus was born," said Jay Taylor, who has been part of the church for nearly 50 years. "This is the day he came down to save us from our sins."
Monsignor David Brockman said every year is a blessing but this is the time of year to look to God to see where he's going to take us next year.
"You celebrate and reflect how the Lord comes among us and in that sense of coming among us, the Lord is helping to lift people up through the power of Grace and Love," Monsignor Brockman said.
"People need to continue to dispose themselves to see how the Lord wants them to serve especially his people who are in great need."
Manuel Martinez came with his wife and daughter to the church in Raleigh all the way from Benson.
"It is a very important feast -- the birth of Jesus," Martinez said. "We are very blessed to be here in this country. We come from Venezuela so we feel blessed by God to have the opportunity to have a better life."
Hayes Barton Baptist Church in Five Points also held a service in the afternoon where kids helped "recreate the true message of Christmas."
Thousands celebrate Christmas Eve at Raleigh services