Living Christmas Tree Lights Up Poplar Bluff

December 20, 2003 -- Posted at 9:00 p.m. CST

Poplar Bluff -- A 40-foot Christmas tree decorated with more than 12,000 lights is pretty impressive site, but then add a 100-member choir to the mix, and you've got yourself a living Christmas tree.

Jim Osborn is the Director of the Living Christmas Tree and says it's been a challenge for the Westwood Baptist Church to put the program together.

"It really is a huge undertaking. The only way we can actually accomplish it is because our people at the church, the Westwood Baptist Church they sacrifice so much this week.

The church sponsors, produces and even builds the Living Christmas Tree in Poplar Bluff.

Putting together the tree is quiet a feat, church officials ay it takes eight days to build this set and $30,000 dollars to put this production on.

Sr. Pastor Steve Proctor says the church doesn't put the program on to make money.

"We'll recoup about 12-thousand dollars in ticket sales. So the church foots the bill for the rest of it because it is something that we believe is important," says Proctor.

This year's production features more than just a singing tree. Members of the church also acted out the Christmas Story. But some members of the choir admit, it can be scary, facing an audience of more than 2,000 people at the Black River Coliseum.

Jessica Grey sings in the Children's choir.

"It's sort of nervous sometimes, but it's really fun," says Grey.

The living Christmas tree is a 6-year tradition of togetherness in Poplar Bluff.

"The church just comes together and they sacrifice, again because of the reason, it's a labor of love, we want to get the message out that Christ is the reason for the season," says Osborn.