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View From a Living Christmas Tree

by Red Cooper
December 12, 2002

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View From a Living Christmas Tree_Red Cooper- Editor's Note: Red Cooper is filling in for the vacationing Casey White.

Each year our church puts on a Christmas program in the first week of December. It is done in a scaffolding formed in the shape of a Christmas tree. We have levels for all the singers who are garbed to look like ornaments. In front is the orchestra pit though it's not really a pit. The tree is decorated with lights, bows and greenery.

In the surrounding areas are stages for the nativity scene decked out with a manger and various people playing the part of Joseph, Mary and the Wise Men. Baby Jesus too. Below is an area for the children's choir.

We have done the Living Christmas Tree every year since 1985 and each year has it's own unique mark in history. We have people who've been involved since the beginning. Some have passed away. Some have retired. Some are new. Some of us are still here. I've been in every year except one.

This year is different for me because I do a solo. I've always been happy being part of the choir as a group but I have always wondered what it would be like to be a soloist. This year the opportunity came up and I was selected. We have many wonderful soloists and it is an honor to be numbered among them.

One of the great things of singing from a tree is we get to see into the faces of the audience. Many have smiles on their faces the whole time. Some just seem to sit and take it all in with a lack of emotion.

Some sit teary eyed and obviously struck by the whole message.

All in all it is a rewarding experience to know we have reached out and helped touch someone's heart.

The children are fun to watch when the tree lights come on as they become wide eyed with amazement. I wonder if they think it is really a tree and how did we get it in there. Or maybe they just accept it and appreciate the beauty of it.

At the end of the performance most everyone in the audience show their appreciation through applause and standing ovation. Then they leave probably not to be seen again until next year.

We do five performances in a weekend and the finale is Sunday night. After the last performance we celebrate with our fellow tree people before it's time to leave.

Within the next few days we will take the tree down to be stored for another year. That's often the sad part of the whole program. We've become so attached to the music and the tree. Now we must take it down.

For the next week or more we will be singing the music from the tree in our heads and wherever we go. People will wonder why we have a certain glow in our faces and a spring in our step. It's hard to explain if you haven't been up there. Head in the clouds as it were.

It would be easy to say this is the end of the story. The day after the last performance is a little bit of a down time. We've been close to a group of people who've sung together and worshiped God together. Now we must go on with our lives and prepare for Christmas.

The hustle and bustle of shopping and crowds that don't seem to get what the real meaning of Christmas is. Jesus birth.

In some way the tree has spoken to us as much as those who have come to hear us sing and the orchestra play.

Christmas is about love and hope and for that we are truly thankful.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Previous People Watch Columns by Casey White

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Parawen from Greensboro, NC writes:
December 12, 2002
I am one of the people who sit in the audience and enjoy the beauty and the message of performances such as the Living Christmas Tree. I never knew I was being observed (ha, ha...,) but I always go away feeling closer to the true meaning of Christmas. I would like to thank everyone who is a part of keeping that true meaning alive and in all of our hearts. It is so easy to get caught up in the merchandising of the season. Thank you for reminding me that's not what it is all about! Merry Christmas, God Bless!

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