The unveiling of two carvings made from cypress designed and carved by John Birkelbach took place Thursday at noon adjacent to the Rusk Chamber of Commerce office, located 184 South Main Street. The Reverend Jacob Smith dedicated the two pieces, which become part of a nativity scene, and La Retta Britton supplied the music “O Little Town of Bethlehem” for all to sing. Jeannie Plyler of Keep Rusk Beautiful presented the plaques that will be installed on the brick wall next to the Rusk Chamber.
This was the final piece to the nativity scene there. Mr. Birkelbach has plans to design another carving, but said he will bring that to the January Keep Rusk Beautiful committee. His work is very detailed, as he likes to name each child carving and give a background of how that carving came about.
Yesterday he spoke of the Angel Carving, Uriel, which means "God is my Light." The angel stands over the nativity drawing attention to Christians who know that many, many years ago in the small town of Bethlehem, a child was born -- and not just any child, but the Baby Jesus.
The other carving dedicated Thursday was of the Wiseman, Melchior who offered the gift of Myrrh. Melchior stands tall between Joseph, who is holding baby Jesus, and a shepherd with his son. The nativity was moved next to the Rusk Chamber of Commerce so the carvings could be set up all year long.