Wednesday, December 23, 2009
GRAVETTE The idea started last Christmas at the First Christian Church in Gravette. At the close of the busy season the minister, Mike Gibson, told his parishioners, ”Let’s make next Christmas an old fashioned Christmas.”
As this year’s season drew closer, the idea of an old fashioned Christmas began to take shape.
Children in the church made old fashioned red and green construction paper chains; plans were made for each church family to make a wreath which would depict something about themselves as a family. The old fashioned Christmas celebration was beginning.
Tragically, minister Mike was not meant to see Christmas this year. His savior, whose life he emulated, called him home in mid-November. What would happen to his old fashioned Christmas?
As church families do when adversity strikes, or sometimes even when discord occurs, First ChristianChurch members pulled together and this Holy Week the church sanctuary is alive with the old fashioned Christmas motif.
“This is what Mike would want,” said Bob Kelley, an elder in the church.
Visitors to the church are greeted by the huge tree sitting in a corner at the front of the sanctuary. The handmade red and green chains drape around its boughs.
Covering the wall above the pulpit are wreathes: Hand made. Depicting the various churchfamilies and traditions: school teachers, farmers, college students, merchants, even the Gravette Shelling Company, are just a few of the themes expressed by careful hands.
And centered on the dais, the raised platform and focal point of the sanctuary, is the traditional Nativity scene.
Somehow everyone knows, deep inside, that Mike is also celebrating his own old fashioned Christmas. There with his congregation.
News, Pages 7 on 12/23/2009