by Kelly Merritt
For holiday music enthusiasts, the Living Christmas Trees performances at First Baptist Church of Naples are the hallmark of the season. For the faithful, the performances showcase the spiritual messages Christians cherish in celebrating the birth of their Lord Jesus.
This year is the 32nd anniversary and grand finale of the Living Christmas Trees. The 31-year-old choir is comprised of over 100 members.
“We just sense that God is leading us to do something new and fresh and so next year will be the inaugural year for a new presentation that we are calling the Naples Christmas Spectacular,” says Dr. Todd F. Stearns, First Baptist Church of Naples Pastor of Worship and Music. “We have a built-in following with 12,000 people who attend the two weekends and many of them will say that’s how they begin their Christmas season, so it is a very positive experience for us.”
Stearns, who has been with the church for eight years, is excited to reach people in a myriad of ways. Everyone regardless of whether they attend church is welcome to enjoy the performances.
As of press time the church had sold almost 5,000 tickets, don’t delay in getting yours. Stearns describes this year’s production, The Living Christmas Trees, “Journey to the Manger.”
“It begins as a Pastor from a local church enters the gallery of the famous sculptor, Nathan Row, in hopes of purchasing a Nativity scene for his church’s Christmas morning celebration. He sets his eye on an exquisite piece hand sculpted by Nathan, only to realize its exorbitant price tag is far beyond his reach.
After the Pastor leaves, Nathan explains to his wife Christine that Christmas is nothing more than a commercial venture centered on a far-fetched myth. Despite Christine’s convictions to the contrary, Nathan can’t be swayed from his cynical outlook. That night, as Nathan falls asleep in his studio, pieces from the Nativity, Mary and Joseph, come to life and transport Nathan from the Depression Era, to Italy during the Renaissance, the streets of England, a simple church in Austria, the manger, and finally back to the 21st century, where Nathan begins to understand the joy, hope and love that Christ brought on that first Christmas night.
Awakening from his dream, Nathan excitedly tells his wife of the events and the change he’s experienced as they rush to the local church to deliver a special gift to the Pastor and his congregation.
His gift of the exquisite Nativity is only a small gesture compared to the most wonderful gift of all…eternal life.”
Stearns believes the powerful dramatic story will captivate minds and encourage spirits.
“Our aim is to help you to enjoy this wonderful season of the year, and to remind you of the beautiful truth, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.”
The production will include a 25 plus piece orchestra, 110 voice adult Choir on Trees, Angel Ballet team, stage ensemble, drama cast, PraiseKids Children’s Choir (1st – 4th graders), Tween City CREW (5th graders), AMPLIFY Creative Arts Team (6th – 8th graders), Resonate Creative Arts Team (9th – 12th graders) and a live nativity.
SAVE THE DATE
First Baptist Church
3000 Orange Blossom Drive
(Between Airport and Livingston Roads)
(9 a.m. – 6 p.m. | Monday-Friday)
There are seven performances:
Dec. 5, 7 (4 & 7 p.m.), 11, 12, 14 (4 & 7 p.m.)
$12.50, $10, $5
All tickets are reserved seating.