“It really is a logistical challenge every year, but fortunately we’re in Huntsville, Alabama, which is the engineering capital of America.”
The logistical challenge mentioned by David Hull, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Huntsville, Ala., is the “Living Christmas Tree,” a special Christmas presentation put on by First Baptist Church every year since 1984.
Hull discusses the event’s history, challenges and meaning in a new Skype interview with EthicsDaily.com.
Each year, on the first Sunday afternoon in December, church members with expertise in engineering and construction come together to build a massive “tree” capable of holding roughly 175 choir members at the front of the church sanctuary.
Other church members spend the next three days decorating the structure with lights and other adornment.
“Just the building of the tree and the decorating of the tree takes a whole host of folks,” says Hull. “It’s really like a giant Erector Set, if you remember what that is.” (Watch a time-lapse video of the tree’s construction.)
Hull says between 8,000 and 10,000 people will take in the presentation over its six performances across four days.
In addition to building the tree, the event requires a significant organizational plan that includes childcare, parking detail, tickets (which aren’t sold but are given away), and more.
“Many moving parts make this happen,” says Hull.
“It’s really, we’ve found, one of the best ways to share the Christmas story,” he says.”
And Hull, pastor at First Baptist of Huntsville since 2002, says that the Living Christmas Tree really does represent what the church ought to be about.
“For me, this is the church in action,” he says. “It’s us using our varied gifts to live out God’s mission.”
“It’s one of the best examples that we have of where we use all of our gifts to reach out to the community to share that wonderful, good news about Jesus,” adds Hull.
Performances of the Living Christmas Tree run from Dec. 13-16. Find out more information at www.fbchsv.org/lct.
Watch the interview with Hull at vimeo.com/ethicsdaily/skype-davidhull
Learn more about Hull and the Living Christmas Tree at www.fbchsv.org/lct
Watch other EthicsDaily.com Skype interviews at vimeo.com/ethicsdaily