Local Sunday school class behind signs of the season
by James Phillips
Dec 24, 2012 | 2537 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jasper’s First Baptist Church distributed the “Merry Christmas” signs that are seen throughout the county. The idea was formed several years ago by a ladies Sunday School class. Photo by: Elane Jones
Jasper’s First Baptist Church distributed the “Merry Christmas” signs that are seen throughout the county. The idea was formed several years ago by a ladies Sunday School class. Photo by: Elane Jones
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An initiative started by a single Sunday school class to serve as a reminder of the “reason for the season” has spread into an outbreak of yard signs across Walker County and beyond.

Fred Nichols, a Sunday school department director at Jasper’s First Baptist Church, said the idea to make yard signs came from one class a few years ago.

“It was really a group of ladies in that class,” he said. “We wanted to make sure that people knew why we celebrate Christmas.”

Nichols said “Happy Holidays” seemed to be becoming a more popular phrase than “Merry Christmas,” so the members of the class called area merchants and asked them to decorate with “Merry Christmas” instead.

“There’s nothing wrong with ‘Happy Holidays,’ but it doesn’t tell the story,” Nichols said. “Christmas is celebrated for Christ’s birthday, and we wanted that to be clear.”

The Sunday school class decided to go a step further and have red yard signs made that included the phrase, “Wishing you love and joy as we celebrate Jesus’ birth — Merry Christmas.”

“At first we only ordered 100, and they were gone in 10 minutes,” Nichols said. “Then we ordered another 100, then 500, and finally placed an order for 2,000 signs.”

Nichols said one entire room at First Baptist Church was filled with the signs.

“It wasn’t filled for long, because all those signs were sold,” Nichols said. “We sold them for $3 each, and they cost about $2.65 each to make. We sold them for $3 so if anyone wanted one and couldn’t pay for it, we would just give it to them.”

He said many other churches in the area wanted some of the signs to give out.

“Out of that last order, a lot of them did go to other churches,” he said. “I’ve seen these signs all over Walker County now.”

Nichols said the Sunday school group didn’t sell signs this year, because they felt “the market may be saturated,” but he said they may have been wrong.

“We’ve still had people calling and wanting signs,” he said. “We may have to do it again next year.”

The signs have been a great outreach, Nichols said.

“They have been very popular, and I think they serve their purpose,” he said. “And it all really started with a group of ladies in a Sunday school class.”