EAST BEND — There was more than just a chill in the air when the community of East Bend gathered together to welcome the holiday season with the lighting of the Christmas Tree Saturday.
Peace and goodwill was shared by the crowd as well as the members of the East Bend Evangelical Methodist choir as they sang “Silent Night” and “Joy to the World” after a short devotion given by Pastor Jason Doolittle, who read Luke 2:8-20.
Doolittle used his experience of decorating his own tree to a DVD that played carols while showing a fire in a hearth. “Depression rises and suicide goes up because they are looking at the heat, but they are not feeling any fire,” explained Doolittle, admonishing listeners to “wear (their) faith on their sleeves because Christmas is about the flame of the Holy Spirit.”
Steven Lineback enjoyed the service saying, “I really like the atmosphere of this community and this coming together.” His wife, Kimmie, was impressed by the raising of the flag and the Star Spangled Banner that opened the evening’s festivities.
“It’s a good event for the community,” said Ashley Wilbanks, whose daughter, Lola, was eagerly awaiting the appearance of Santa Claus, who took time out of his busy schedule to make an appearance at East Bend Saturday.
“For some it’s a family tradition,” explained Wilbanks, as her father, Larry Doub, stood nearby anticipating the soup that warmed bodies as the camaraderie warmed spirits.
“They’ve been working hard all day; since 7:30 (a.m.). You know it’s good food,” said Doub.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.