Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 26, 2013

Bluefield, Va., lights up holidays

By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD, Va. — Songs including “Away in a Manager” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” filled the cold night air Monday as children investigated the nativity scene and waited for Santa Claus to arrive in Jack Asbury Square.

More than 400 people attended the annual Community Christmas Gathering and Tree Lighting in Bluefield, Va. Children played as a choir with the Destiny Outreach Praise and Worship Ministries performed Christmas carols for the public.

“We do it every year,” Vice Mayor Jimmy Jones said of the festivities. “We do a lot of things in town like have movies in the square and music in the gazebo.”

As the time for lighting the town’s Christmas tree drew near, Pastor Steve Branch of Destiny Outreach Ministries told the story of the first Christmas. He spoke about how an angel revealed to Mary that she would bear a child who would be the son of God.

“This is what Christmas is all about,” he said. “It’s about Jesus the Savior.”

Santa Claus arrived soon afterward aboard a Bluefield, Va., Fire Department engine with sirens and blazing searchlights. Children and their parents quickly lined up near the town Christmas Tree for a chance to share their holiday wishes.

Santa had a special guest to help him light the Christmas tree. William Yates, a 10th grade student at Graham High School, spends most of his time in a wheelchair, but he was this year’s person to light the tree. He is the oldest son of Jonathan and Darla Yates, and his siblings are Kathryn and Christian.

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com