BETHANY—This chorus is part of the song Cody Dunbar wrote titled The Savior King is Born, as part of this year’s candlelight service at Bethany, Council Road, where Dunbar leads worship. The idea of the song came from the service’s theme of “Fear Not,” which Norman Behymer, executive pastor at Council Road, said originated after the impact of the tornado disasters affecting Oklahoma in May.
“We decided early on that the theme this year would be ‘Fear Not,’ which fits right into the Christmas story,” said Behymer who also started a tradition three years ago of having church members write and illustrate a story to be read to children at the candlelight service. The Christmas Eve services begin at 6 and 11 p.m.
“We have always had something to do with children (during the candlelight service). Pastor Rick (Thompson, senior pastor) wanted to read a story to the children,” he said.
After struggling to find an appropriate story for the service every year, Behymer concluded the church had many talented writers and artists who could take on the duties of publishing a book each year.
“We determined it needed to be the Gospel, just not a ‘feel good’ book, and I wanted it to be beautiful,” said Behymer. “I wanted it to be where a child would be so enamored by the colors and the beauty of the book that they would not want to put it down. That seems like it has happened all three years.”
The first book was written by Vickey Banks and illustrated by Megan Diefenderfer Matthews. The second book was written by Trish Depew and illustrated by Danielle Green.
This year’s book is titled Comfort and Joy and is written by Kelly King, women’s ministries specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, and illustrated by Shannon Masterson. The story tells of a little girl named Emma who is scared while trying to sleep, but her father calms her fears by telling her the story of Baby Jesus.
Every child who attends the candlelight service will receive a copy of the book. “It has caught on like wildfire. We have had people who have emailed saying that was their child’s favorite book for Christmas,” said Behymer.
Along with copies of the book, Council Road also will give service attenders a digital download that will feature an audio version of the book and a soundtrack of Dunbar’s song.
With the recent tradition of a children’s book and with the addition of a newly-written song that both share comfort and joy, Council Road’s candlelight service will offer much encouragement and the Gospel, to people who may seek peace and goodwill.