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OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -
There was Christmas music over in Ocean Springs Sunday night. Church leaders at St. Paul United Methodist Church say one way they give back to the community is with a popular show that they've been putting on for 21 years.
A few hundred people packed into the church for what many consider a-can't-miss show called the 21st Annual Living Christmas Tree Musical.
One by one members of the Christmas choir consisting of various church choirs and the chamber orchestra took their spot around the 24-foot-tall Christmas tree.
"This time of year especially it's important to hear songs of faith songs of our tradition. It's songs that really call out in us expressions of love joy and peace," Chris Cumbest said.
St. Paul member Corban Gun says he's been coming to this event for years. Listening to the different instruments and songs always takes him back to his childhood.
"It's a tradition for people in the Christmas season. Miss Mary Elizabeth Sawyer has been doing it for like I said, at least 30 years and it is something that I did with my family with my parents and my brothers. And now I have a wife and two small children and this is what we do as well," Gun said.
Church leaders say this event gets people ready for the Christmas season. And coupled with people singing traditional Christmas hymns on a lighted Christmas tree the show is really a sight to see. But the show is more than entertainment. It's also a way for members to think about the reason for the season.
"The message of Christ and just not loosing what this season is about. And I think people really want to hang onto that and this Christmas tree is a sign of that," Sheila Cumbest said.
Preparation for the two day event took about two weeks.
Organizers say it wouldn't have been possible without the show's director Mary Elizabeth Sawyer. Around 400 people including members and non-members came out to the Christmas show.