COSTA MESA — First it was the hymns and melodies depicting Jesus' birth, then it was the incense that led parishioners toward St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church on Thursday.
They were there to celebrate Christmas.
Armenian Orthodox Christians have been celebrating Christmas on Jan. 6 since Armenia became the first nation to adopt Christianity in 301, said Pastor Moushegh Tashjian, the church's archpriest reverend.
Dressed in a long white robe, Tashjian led the 10:30 a.m. service, while worshipers continued to arrive from throughout Orange County and the rest of Southern California.
For the Armenian community celebrating Christmas in the United States, there's no better time to reflect on the revelation of Jesus, Tashjian said.
"You get that different feeling," he said. "For us, it gives all of us time to truly focus on the miracle of Jesus Christ. In January, everything is behind us and we can focus on the miracle of God becoming man in Jesus."