Wednesday, December 5, 2012


The excitement is building toward the upcoming holidays. Kids everywhere (some adults too), are eagerly hoping to find the things they wished for wrapped up as presents under the tree.

Christmas gift giving is a very big business. Our many purchases are good for the economy according to the media, which tells us that a strong holiday selling season means a healthier economy in the coming year.
I treasure the pleasure of 'giving' more than receiving.
I experienced at an early age how good it makes me feel to give someone something as simple as a little personal attention during the holidays. I used to play cards with an elderly widowed neighbor whose spirits were low since her surviving children lived far away. My presence instantly ignited her with jolly vibes.

A perfect gift fills a special need. And it does not always come in Rudolph and Frosty wrapping paper.
I grew up seeing the correlation of doing good things and feeling good about myself. Making a difference in someone's life most assuredly makes me feel good.  Consequently, for many years now, I spend the weeks leading up to the holidays performing a mega act of kindness.  

I feel it was my destiny to discover the Living Christmas Tree production (Commonly known as LCT). I hopped on this sleigh-waggon years ago and join in delivering good cheer to hundreds of people in this way every year.

There are countless opportunities through involvement in LCT to reach masses of people whose spirits can be lifted every December . This is a large contingency of other do-gooders, and, I honestly imagine myself participating in this inspirational holiday program at Grace Polaris for the rest of my life, because it feels so worthy! 
LCT started out as a small church outreach. Performers even traveled to the former City Center for a few years, but, the show today utilizes the terrific accommodations of the massive church facilities on Lazelle Road.  This is where the electrifying excitement of the Living Christmas Trees unfolds on cue every year at this time of year.

It is a spectacular volunteer effort.  Most of us give our personal time on a strictly voluntary basis. It renews our spirits as we get busy and fully involved in preparations for the production that will light up all the many faces that come to see the ingenuity and merriment that is packaged in LCT. 

LCT is a holiday entertainment showcase event.
The driving force behind the whole program is the sincere desire to reach out to humanity in a good way. It never fails to provide wholesome soul nourishment. I personally go home rewarded by the experience. I cherish the giving of my time for these special performances, knowing Central Ohio audiences will enjoy the holiday season more after they came to see this.
I am someone who can't say no to any good cause, because I know how good I always feel afterwards.

For me personally, giving presents serves a purpose during the holidays. Unfortunately too many gifts get purchased in a shopping frenzy and I feel frazzled by the time my santa work is done. Some gifts generate the joyfulness I intend. Others do not.
However, this gift bearer's heart is never let down after a season of "giving my all" participating in LCT.  As soon as rehearsals start up in early October, my jingle bells ring. 

There are literally hundreds of us who reunite every season during LCT production time. Those who work behind the scenes willingly give more than our time.  We contribute individual talents. Somehow every individual's offering works in Unisom to achieve LCT's goal, which is to put on a show that shares compassionate messages filled with love for all mankind.
LCT’s success is measurable, though, the spontaneous sharing of good tidings is something so personal, that everyone of us involved receives entirely different positive returns. 

I have repeatedly reaped the greatest gift of all seeing the impact LCT has on the lives of complete strangers, as well as many of the volunteers working alongside me during the LCT season!
My life was changed forever by a few standout events that happened to me over my lifetime.  One of these was the first time I went to an LCT show. That was long ago, before I became directly involved in the magic that LCT makes happen every year.
I could write a million different reasons to go see an LCT production because I have witnessed its monumental power to transform people’s lives. I have had my hand involved in various capacities of the production since my enchantment with LCT started. 

Words do not do justice nor can I fully explain what makes LCT so special. It is a heart-pumping entertaining musical program.  But LCT offers much, much more. It is unparalleled in its ability to bring happiness to hundreds of people during the holidays.

If my review seems tainted or biased because of my affiliation, think again.
The lasting impression LCT sends new people home with every single year is outright convincing. The fact that more than half the people rise up in a packed auditorium at every performance, since they are asked to stand if they have never seen the show previously, is a true testament to the bountiful way the good news of LCT spreads!

And boy oh boy does LCT bring the goods!

LCT uses a stage but we use the entire auditorium to make the audience feel part of the action...the set changes each year and scenes typically include both modern day and settings from ancient biblical times, which are changed rapidly back and forth as the main characters journey involves a discovery that goes way back in time. 

There is fun and serious drama. The dialogue and lyrics of songs can evoke laughter and tears and touch on all possible human emotions as evidenced by amazing audience reactions at every performance.
For volunteers, involvement is a huge commitment that demands our surrendering of a lot of other things going on in our lives. Some amount of sacrifice is always required.  LCT calls us into service during the busiest hustle and bustle time of the holiday season. 

LCT binds hundreds of us from all walks of life. And when we come together and put our everyday routines on hold, we prioritize giving our best efforts to create LCT's memorable experience.   

Many lives have been redirected by LCT throughout the years.  The show as designed enlightens members of the audience. AND I have seen LCT positively effect all the people who work on and off the stage too.

Every one of us becomes an integral part of LCT. Singers and dancers and actors are the visible people featured in the cast; then there are people who step up to help with lighting, set building, sewing and prop making; all the members of the church choir and orchestra perform live; others provide hospitality and even child care for parents while they are busy on stage.
Every usher and parking attendant, people providing guest services on down to the stage hands are all critical to the LCT program. Every one of them is blessed in one way or another through doing this good service.

All of the giving that comes from the goodness of our many hearts causes something special to happen during every season of LCT.  There is something that makes LCT much greater than any one of us alone can claim credit for and it brings everything together every year.
After years of experiencing LCT first-hand, I still summarize this as surreal. It's a real-life miracle that unfolds from the chaos the week before curtain-call. Miraculously a well-choreographed program just happens when it's ShowTime!

I serve faithfully year after year because I have witnessed LCT reaching all the right places in the hearts of people who come with many needs. It touches my heart to see them leave greatly rejuvenated.

LCT is a gift that comes wrapped in the messages learned from it. It relays good will for all mankind and provides overflowing reasons to believe faithfully in GOD. 
LCT's sole shortcoming is that touting of the virtues of the Christian religious beliefs is a taboo for some people. Personal religious beliefs are a sensitive subject :)  But, we are prayful that this would NOT deter anyone from attending. Those who come with an open mind will absorb the righteousness of our presentation even though they may have different religious beliefs!
Considering that LCT is produced entirely by local church members, it is easy for someone to stereotype the show and have a preconceived vision of an amateurish Christmas Pageant.  
LCT is neither a simple pageant nor a cliché-like Christmas program.
It IS a colossal congregational organization masterpiece that will rock your soul! 

There are entire families that make their stage debuts during LCT. Moms become dancing angels; grandmas sit at the top of giant Christmas trees filled with all the other members of the live choir (There are two giant people-filled trees; these obviously are the reason for the "Living Christmas Tree" name!)

There are dads and grandpas who run the sound and light boards; teenagers and young adults who build sets inside a warehouse where everything is stored afterwards. We have had a local plastic surgeon cast in the starring Bible role for a couple of years now...

Tons of kids, including infants, are also activated in LCT! Some children may be cider servers and others horse and donkey tenders.  Others transform into little shepherds and kings attendants on stage.
It takes a large number of special individuals to bring LCT to life. Each year there are regulars along with new faces. These people enrich my experience when my life comes in close contact with theirs during our time of service in LCT.

Every show is fast-paced.  One minute it’s upbeat and then it is downright sorrowful the next.  At no point in this show is anyone delivering a lecture about religion!
LCT is a comprehensive theatrical production with a new story told each year. Each show's original script is locally written. The LCT story sends folks home with hopes restored; as the audience leaves, we hear how heavy burdens have been lifted through identifying with the heartwarming, thought-provoking storytelling. LCT provides new insights to age-old problems and conveyes the comforting news of other people's concern.

LCT includes seasoned choreography, exquisite costumes, and, cool theatrical special effects. All of this will keep even the smallest child in their seat spellbound for two hours with no intermissions.

Over a half million people’s lives have been touched since LCT’s inception in Columbus 24 years ago. It is something you have to see to believe and you have to be there in person to smell the camel dung! This is no joke which you will CLEARLY COMPREHEND if you go!

There are two MAGNIFICENT (but smelly) camels that grace the halls of the Grace Brethren Polaris Church during LCT! These animals are huge crowd pleasers. The loudest ‘oohs’ come during the two songs that these creatures walk past each row of bleachers filled with onlookers.  
We have in recent years made the camels our facility "greeters" and when busses arrive and folks unload, they can get up close and enjoy a camel ride before the show!

Every detail of this ministry operation is covered by individuals coming forward with essential skills. Somehow there is always the right combination of needed expertise.  This happens through the workings of a force bigger than any one of us. Many conversations have been struck declaring how “in awe” we all are, that LCT always comes together angelically at Grace!
There is that indescribable thing that happens when everyone brings something to give. It is something that we all say comes from a Higher Power. End of story!

By the end of twelve shows our exhaustion levels peak.  But the lingering images of great things that happen every year while doing these good deeds remain with us.  These memories will be replaced by more of the same when a new LCT season comes together the following year.
When a season of LCT is said and done, most of us who worked on LCT for months still have to pick up and put our own personal holiday preparations and travel arrangements together. But, true to LCT tradition, there is an additional volunteer call and people go back and spend time tearing down the set and refreshing the church facility.

Not long after the final curtain calls, dozens of volunteers’ line up to merrily box up the best story ever told for another year.  This cleanup is spent fellowshipping with the LCT troops. Everyone loves exchanging the stories of life altering experiences they witness each year.
The gratitude I receive for the gifts I know will delight my personal list of present receivers does not come close to the joy I will have giving of my time to LCT again this year.  By stepping in the footsteps of a person's life as documented in the bible during an LCT performance, I might be helping someone in modern day step back on the path to a better life !  

There is so much good that comes from experiencing this show it makes the price of tickets a great value.  I purchase tickets for all my real estate clients each year.  Everyone I know is offered a chance to join me for this wonderful time celebrating the season of giving!

Below are more cool (a few mindblowing) facts about LCT.  
  • The set is 140 feet wide and over 25 feet high
  • Over 6,000 square feet of carpet padding covers the stage
  • Each Living Christmas Tree is made of nearly 5 tons of steel
  • There are nearly 11,000 lights on each Living Christmas Tree
  • Each Living Christmas Tree is nearly 30 feet tall
  • Over 24,000 watts of amplification power the sound at each performance
  • Nearly 200 microphones are used in each performance
  • Nearly 2 miles of audio cable is used in each performance
  • Over 100,000 watts of theatrical lighting shine on each performance
  • Nearly 600 people put over 20,000 hours into each year's performances

I believe in being a contributing member of society. My professional contributions are presently varied; assisting clients with real estate buying and selling transactions, as well as, performing current property value appraisals for the Delaware County Sheriff. I teach & enjoy exercise and I am a professionally certified fitness instructor at the Westerville Rec Center; I also love to write and blog! My goal is to continue making productive use of my former journalism background and public service skill by remaining active in the community. Prior expertise in zoning & development was gained working in local government. I wish to remain active in the planning arena for the rest of my life! I am always expanding on the knowledge I offer & always ready to put any of my professional skills to work for a new good cause. If you need dependable assistance- call me. I am available to be put to work immediately, so, please, feel free to get in touch with me at your earliest convenience! For Real Estate Help or me. I look forward to joining you and taking care of delegated project needs. Thanks.
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