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Message of Christmas extends to all

Rhonda Costa
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal
NEVADA APPEAL | NEVADA APPEAL

Five-year-old Heather Eckert fidgeted on the pew of the church, asking her mom, Amy Eckert, when they were going to be lighting the candles.

But it was her older brother, Richie, 10, who spoke with words of wisdom as he reflected on what Christmas means to him.

“A lot of people celebrate just because of Santa Claus and for presents,” Richie said. “Our family celebrates because of Jesus’ birthday.”

“For me, it’s a day of remembrance of when Jesus was born,” Amy Eckert said. “Coming to Earth, reincarnate. It’s our salvation ” a chance for us to go to heaven.”

The children and family candlelight service held Christmas Eve at First United Methodist Church was full, with many of the young children and their families dressed in their Sunday best. As the Revs. Rob and Dixie Jennings-Teats led a procession to the altar, The Joyful Noise musicians welcomed the congregation with, “O Come, All Ye Faithful.”

Rev. Rob Jennings-Teats encouraged the children to come sit at the altar and listen to the story of St. Nicholas. Each of the children received a red paper heart, to leave in the manger for baby Jesus. Portraying St. Nicholas was Fred Neitz, who told “his” story to them.

“I’m from the fourth century and I grew up in Asia Minor,” Neitz said. As he told of his actions, he tossed gold coins made of candy to the children.

“That’s how Jesus was, he wanted to love people and he didn’t want to keep it a secret.”

After the children returned to their seats, 3-year-old Jack Doenges, son of Colleen and Daniel Doenges, curiously asked his mother, “Where’s baby Jesus?”

“He went to bed,” she answered.

As the lights of the church were dimmed, the ushers presented their lit candles to the rows of people, each lighting theirs from the candle before.

“Jesus is the light that shines in our path,” Jennings-Teats said. “Christmas can mean so much to everyone, Christians and non-Christians. Let God’s love shine.”

As the candles were lit, the musicians played, “Silent Night, Holy Night,” and the congregation joined them in singing.

“Go out and share your light,” said Dixie Jennings-Teats, and wished everyone a Merry Christmas.

Before the service, Rob Jennings-Teats explained what Christmas meant to him.

“It’s the coming of the light of love that shines through the darkness,” he said. “And Jesus is that light.”

– Contact Rhonda Costa at rcosta@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1223.

“A lot of people celebrate just because of Santa Claus and for presents,” Richie said. “Our family celebrates because of Jesus’ birthday.”

“For me, it’s a day of remembrance of when Jesus was born,” Amy Eckert said. “Coming to Earth, reincarnate. It’s our salvation ” a chance for us to go to heaven.”

The children and family candlelight service held Christmas Eve at First United Methodist Church was full, with many of the young children and their families dressed in their Sunday best. As the Revs. Rob and Dixie Jennings-Teats led a procession to the altar, The Joyful Noise musicians welcomed the congregation with, “O Come, All Ye Faithful.”

Rev. Rob Jennings-Teats encouraged the children to come sit at the altar and listen to the story of St. Nicholas. Each of the children received a red paper heart, to leave in the manger for baby Jesus. Portraying St. Nicholas was Fred Neitz, who told “his” story to them.

“I’m from the fourth century and I grew up in Asia Minor,” Neitz said. As he told of his actions, he tossed gold coins made of candy to the children.

“That’s how Jesus was, he wanted to love people and he didn’t want to keep it a secret.”

After the children returned to their seats, 3-year-old Jack Doenges, son of Colleen and Daniel Doenges, curiously asked his mother, “Where’s baby Jesus?”

“He went to bed,” she answered.

As the lights of the church were dimmed, the ushers presented their lit candles to the rows of people, each lighting theirs from the candle before.

“Jesus is the light that shines in our path,” Jennings-Teats said. “Christmas can mean so much to everyone, Christians and non-Christians. Let God’s love shine.”

As the candles were lit, the musicians played, “Silent Night, Holy Night,” and the congregation joined them in singing.

“Go out and share your light,” said Dixie Jennings-Teats, and wished everyone a Merry Christmas.

Before the service, Rob Jennings-Teats explained what Christmas meant to him.

“It’s the coming of the light of love that shines through the darkness,” he said. “And Jesus is that light.”

– Contact Rhonda Costa at rcosta@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1223.