WAXAHACHIE — Nothing beats the cold like a hot cup of cocoa with a dessert in hand and surrounded by a loving community eager to celebrate the Christmas season. A memorable evening took place Tuesday night on the lawn of the Historic Ellis County Courthouse Square for the "Caroling with the Mayor" event, which drew more than 300 people for a picturesque night of unity.

“It reminded me of old times, coming together," said Waxahachie Mayor Kevin Strength, who added, “I think we’ve got a lot of good people in Waxahachie, and a lot of roots in churches.”

More than a dozen churches were in attendance, along with a handful of nonprofits helping to make the event possible.

Joining efforts with Strength, was Mike Shaw, pastor of What’s Happening Now, who added to the mayor's admiration of the community by saying, “Mercy Chefs provided desserts, Fresh Market [Coffee] brought the coffee, and musicians from different denominations played.”

The entire evening was one to revel in as past prejudices melted away to embrace the sentimental holiday.

“It was nostalgia for me. A step back in time because the community used to be like that [with] everybody singing, different denominations coming together as a group,” Shaw said.

Adding to the value of the event, Strength also stated, “[We’re] reaching across racial lines, bringing people together, and embracing each other.”

And many others thought the same, too.

“It felt good that the community could come together and represent Jesus in a public way," said Cory Lucas, a pastor from Freedom Fellowship International.

“It was cool to see a whole community gathered together with their heads bowed in prayer. That’s not something you see very often. It’s nice to know that I live in a town that turns their attention to Jesus during this busy holiday season," said Asia Behrendt, a Southwestern Assemblies of God University alumni.

Ending the night with prayer, Strength summed up the moment he shared with his community: “To see people coming together with pastors praying, the response was incredible. It sets an example for our children. We’re healing the hurt, one bite at a time. […] It’s really cool to see everyone work together and come together. It was beautiful.”

*Photos from the event will be featured on the front of Sunday's Lifestyles section. 

----

Chelsea Groomer, (469) 517-1450