If anyone knows how to celebrate Jesus’ birth, it’s the congregation of Rescue Church at 915 FM 1299 in Wharton. This joyous group had its community Christmas party on Sunday evening, Dec. 22.
People who attended experienced “Christmas Classics” with a Christmas message full of hope and encouragement. Christmas carols, and nostalgic holiday music, both secular and religious, filled the air, and children acted out a scene from “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” explaining what they believed was the true meaning of that day.
After the candlelight service, attendees were given a selection of refreshments, including hot chocolate, sausage on a stick, funnel cakes, and coffee, (Pastor Paul Steib’s favorite drink). Children took pictures with Santa or posed with their faces inside a wooden body of the Grinch. Smiles were everywhere as grown-ups and children alike were riding the train or taking a magical carriage ride, pulled by a beautiful white horse.
Executive Assistant Brian Gingles said “We have been having our Christmas services and candlelight services since we began Rescue Church in 2012. It takes months to plan and prepare.”
The efforts pay off in many unexpected ways, he said.
One year, the group provided a live nativity scene with a camel. Over 400 people enjoyed the big celebration and about 55 members of the congregation helped to make it happen. It takes months and months for all of the pieces to fall into place. The candle light service and night of festivities have been going on the past seven years.
The actions of their love have reaped a bountiful harvest, Brian Gingles said.
“People feeling loved,” Gingles said. “People feeling a sense of family. People feeling lots of joy. That we get to make a difference in the lives of people, not just at Christmastime but throughout the year and for eternity, is a privilege.”
The church is led by senior pastor Steib and his wife Becki, along with executive assistant Gingles, director of the Rescue Center Shannon Haldom, and youth leaders Chris and Tina Jasso, along with custodial head Chris Garza.