Northside Baptist announces new Christmas tradition

Jennifer Lee Preyss By Jennifer Lee Preyss

Sept. 16, 2012 at 4:16 a.m.
Updated Sept. 17, 2012 at 4:17 a.m.

For almost three decades, Northside Baptist Church was the place to be for Christmas.

Live barnyard animals, flying angels, song and theatrical pageant performance told the story of Jesus' birth and resurrection to a community of hundreds.

But in December, Northside's pageant performed its final production. The church promised, however, it would return with another Christmas tradition that the community could rise to support.

On Sunday, the Rev. Tim Williams and other Northside staff members showed a video announcing the church's plans for the 2012 Christmas season.

That project, known as "A Home for Christmas," is a church partnership with Habitat for Humanity, Interstate Battery and Wells Fargo, to build a home for a Victoria family in need.

"Doing something like this out in the community, that's what's exciting for me," Williams said. "We want to let people know they can come here to the church for events, but also that we can show God's love outside the church."

The Rev. John Woods, the former pageant co-director, said the church's new Christmas project aims to marry the "telling of the Gospel" with the "doing of the Gospel."

"We talked about doing some kind of project as a way to say thank you for all their support for all the years they attended pageant," Woods said. "One of the ways we decided to say thank you is by getting out of the church and participating in a goodwill project."

Beginning in November in the Swan Crossing neighborhood in Victoria, one family will have a home built and blessed for them before Santa Claus comes to visit.

"They will get a home for Christmas," Woods said. "For the last 28 years the community has come to us. This year, we're going to them."

Woods said the project will conclude at the church with a one-night-only Northside-style Christmas concert at 6 p.m. Dec. 9, with a special service that honors the Habitat family.

"Our approach this Christmas is to find the marriage between music and missions. We're not throwing away the music," Woods said. "We want to let everyone know that this is the direction we're moving for Christmas ... It's going to look different and that's a good thing - and God is still all over that."

On Nov. 3, the community is invited to volunteer for the first build day, and at 3 p.m., Woods said, a blessing and prayer service for the home will occur.

"It's sure open to the community, and if anyone would like to come and join us on the Habitat build, they are welcome," Williams said.

Volunteers will be needed throughout November to complete the home.

"It will help us remember that the Gospel is bigger than telling the story . we're supposed to do the story. It's exciting," Woods said. "The pageant was a huge blessing to the community and our church, and we think this will have the same blessing for the community."



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