ELIDA — Cake and candles: Check. Piñata: Check. Restoring Christ in Christmas: Check.
About 200 partygoers threw Jesus a birthday party Friday night at Elida Middle School, celebrating the birth of Christ, rather than the many commercial trappings that now come along with the holiday.
The family-focused party presented by Witness on Wheels included cupcakes, corn hole, Wii bowling and sand art for the kids. But it also included music, a sermon and live nativity.
“The holiday has become very commercialized. There’s nothing wrong with the tree and presents. Every family has their traditions; we have ours,” said Cassandra Gonzalez-Gable, vice president of Witness on Wheels. “The whole point to the holiday is Christ. We wanted to have an event where we took away the commercial parts; there’s no Santa Claus or Frosty.”
Witness on Wheels aims to put God back into the public arena and society, primarily with Bible verses as decals on vehicles. The nonprofit also makes decals for windows, walls, boats, fireplaces — anywhere someone wants to display their faith.
The group and several sponsors funded a billboard on Eastown Road, between Elida and Allentown roads saying “Happy Birthday Jesus.” The group hopes to fund a “One Nation Under God” billboard for July 4, 2010.
“Every time you turn around, society is trying to take God out of our life,” said Wheels founder Elena Rahrig. “We tried to find a nativity for this event and it was difficult; some stores said they weren’t ordering them this year.”
The evening was a fun one, but Christ-focused.
“I don’t want my kid confused and thinking Santa is why we celebrate Christmas,” Rahrig said.