Some churches around the state held their annual services for the first time on Christmas Eve in almost two years on Friday.
The unified harmony of instruments is a familiar sound for so many who looked forward to coming together the day before Christmas.
Valerie McDonald has called Emanuel Lutheran Church her church home for more than 30 years.
"They had horns and it was just beautiful to be in the church again," said McDonald.
Valerie and her husband, Craig, have had to weather the constant adjustments in church services brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and they tell NBC Connecticut they're happy to see some familiar faces.
"They went from zoom meetings to virtual, to services out in the parking lot," said Craig McDonald.
"It's nice to be with family and celebrate this happy event in a difficult year," said Valerie McDonald.
2021 looks different at Holy Family Passionist Retreat Center in West Hartford. The people aren't looking through a screen to connect with one another; instead, they're in person and masks are required.
"We chose to have everyone masked for the services and I think people felt safe being that way," said Father David Cinquegrani.
The center held their mass services on Christmas Eve and wanted to provide hope and a sense of community this year.
“It’s really a time that brings peace, no matter where we are, no matter what’s going on, I think the world just tries to come together," said Cinquegrani.
Togetherness and being back in church is exactly what some parishioners tell NBC Connecticut is needed during the holidays.
"As longer-term members, it’s nice to have that community and that tradition," said Craig McDonald.