By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
CLARKSVILLE — Over the years Pastor Jimmy Terry of Tabernacle Baptist Church here has witnessed what he perceives as a de-emphasis on Christmas by Christians.
Christians have abandoned Christmas (and Easter), Terry observed. “We have given it over to the secular world.”
For the past four years or so Terry has purchased several hundred yard signs which proclaim, “Christmas is all about JESUS.”
The Clarksville pastor took it a step further this year — actually a huge step based on faith. Terry purchased 10,000 signs at a cost of $3 each.
“When you step out in faith, Jesus will not let you sink,” Terry declared. “If you don’t believe it, just ask Peter,” he continued, noting that he is confident that churches and individuals will provide the resources needed for the signs.
At the time of his interview Terry had at least eight individuals or couples who had pledged $1,000 or more and he anticipated that number to rise.
Terry said that any money left over once the signs were paid for would be used to purchase similar signs during Easter.
Terry observed that there are at least 70, if not more, national emphases that are celebrated each year in America — American Heart Month, Black History Month, National Candy Month, National Ice Cream Month, National Pet Month, and the list goes on.
December should be our month, he stressed.
Terry advocates Christians turning the month of December and the month that Easter falls in as “revival” months where a concerted effort is made to win people to Christ.
“As Christians we worship the greatest person who ever lived. I would like to see us (Christians) rethink Christmas and Easter.”
Instead the world has seen that “we don’t do anything with Christmas and they have taken hold of it and we have just sat back and watched,” Terry said.
“We have to set the example for generations following us to let them know that Christmas and Easter is sacred,” he stressed.
Terry is hopeful that Christians will step to the plate and begin to regain their influence that he thinks has been lost over the past few decades.
He is an advocate of Christian schools and of Christians taking strong stands on things such as not having major sporting events on Sundays.
The signs are just a small step, Terry acknowledged. “We are lifting Him up through these signs.
Residents of Clarksville and other areas have embraced Terry’s effort and have helped to distribute the signs all over the city and other areas of the state as well.
Several churches joined the effort, including Hilldale Baptist Church. The church acquired hundreds of the signs to distribute in their community and around the city.
“Pastor Terry’s passion for this project is contagious,” said Larry Robertson, pastor of Hilldale Baptist.
“I don’t necessarily see myself as a ‘sign guy,’ but you can’t help but get excited about putting a sign in your own yard when you’re around him. My sign went up Dec. 1,” he added.
Robertson said his church “is honored to walk alongside Pastor Terry in this worthy project. He’s the face, voice, and heart of it; but we are helping on the administration and distribution side of things.”