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A Gift to God at Christmas

Guideposts blogger and award-winning author Michelle Cox admires the singing Christmas tree at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis.

A gift to God at Christmas from churches everywhere including Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis.

I love it when people do things to the hilt for God, and I was treated to an epic display when I flew to Memphis recently for the taping of the Todd Starnes All-American Christmas Show at Bellevue Baptist Church.

Todd’s a dear friend, and it was fun to hang out with him, the production team, and the staff at the church for a few days prior to the taping and to see how much planning goes into pulling off something like that. It was also special to see the behind-the-scenes moments for Bellevue’s Christmas program.

Bellevue Baptist is a massive place with a café, library and a large bookstore. It seats 8,000 in the sanctuary, and one might assume that such a big church would be impersonal—but it was one of the friendliest churches I’ve ever visited. I was impressed by that.

And I was even more impressed when we attended the full dress rehearsal on Monday night for Bellevue’s Singing Christmas Tree. The tree was custom made out of 7500 pounds of steel and has over 100,000 lights and 1800 feet of garland on it.  

This is their 40th year of doing the program, and they do it in a big way. As Minister of Music Mark Blair says, “I love watching the body of Christ in action, and I see it so beautifully through the singing Christmas tree.”

There are more than 600 people in the cast, choir and orchestra. Crews and volunteers add another 400 people. The choirs consist of 4th graders through college-age students—young people who could be at Christmas parties with their friends or shopping at the mall, but instead, they’re at church polishing their parts in the program.

While I sat there enjoying the amazing display of talent and hard work, I thought about the countless hours that had been put into the program, and I realized something: This is their gift to God and the community each Christmas—gifts of their time, their talents and the dollars required for a production of this size. I was so touched by all of it.

As Mark Blair says, “I don’t care if they remember the name of the church or program, but I hope they take the message of a God who loved them so much that He’d rather die on a cross than to spend eternity without them.”

I realize that many of you attend small churches that would never be able to build spectacular sets or fly angels into the auditorium while an orchestra plays, but that’s the beauty of giving gifts to God—His heart is touched whenever we bring him our best, whether it’s a huge production like Bellevue does or at a tiny church with hand-painted cardboard sets, angels with tin-foil halos and shepherds clad in bathrobes.

Whether you’re on the stage in front of the crowd or behind the scenes sewing angel costumes, your efforts are touching hearts and changing lives.

No matter how big or small the program, the message is the same—God sent His Son to earth as a tiny babe in a manger. Salvation wrapped in swaddling clothes. The greatest gift ever given.

To all of you who do Christmas programs each year, thank you for giving to the Lord. Only eternity will show the lives that have been changed.

…whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God. (I Corinthians 10:31)

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