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St. Matthew's Christmas Festival of Lights includes 'The Greatest Story Ever Told'

St. Matthew's Christmas Festival of Lights includes 'The Greatest Story Ever Told'
The St. Matthew Lutheran Church Christmas Festival of Lights, featuring "The Greatest Story Ever Told," is live each evening. Above, the 2015 St. Matthew array. (MATT BUTTON | AEGIS STAFF / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Back again this year is the free, drive-through display of 75,000 festive Christmas lights synchronized to holiday music, including "The Greatest Story Ever Told," at St Matthew Lutheran Church in Bel Air.

New additions to the light festival this year include four singing Christmas trees in the community garden area and a 20-foot tall RGH "pixel strip" tree consisting of 2,400 LED lights with animation.

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In its fourth year, the display of lights at St. Matthew has become well-known throughout the community, church leaders said in a news release. Working with Bel Air resident Jim Kurtz, Pastor Blaise Sedney and St. Matthew's team of volunteers designed a display of lights that are synchronized to holiday music which can be heard on a visitor's car radio as they drive past the display.

Brad Paulsen, another neighbor of the parish who has an extensive light display at his home, came on board to assist with the program last year.

Lights for this year's festival were installed over the course of eight Saturdays by volunteers consisting of St. Matthew parishioners and friends for a total of about 500 people hours.

The display is on the side of the St. Matthew campus facing away from Route 22. Drivers should use the main entrance on Churchville Road at the intersection of Brierhill Drive. As drivers enter, St. Matthew asks for food or cash donations to benefit their food pantry.

Weather permitting, the display will run every night starting at 6 p.m. through the holiday season. There may be a few nights when the display times will be adjusted to accommodate other church functions. To check the schedule, call 410-838-3178, visit www.smlc.org, or check out the official Facebook page for St. Matthew (St. Matthew Lutheran Church-church/religious organization).

On weekend evenings visitors can walk through the tunnel of lights into the narthex for entrance to the church's new train garden display. The indoor train garden display features six vintage and modern trains on 265 feet of track and a trolley car in the center of the platform.

The display will surely delight visitors of all ages and church members will once again be serving cocoa and cookies inside on the weekends, as well. On various weekends throughout the light season, the church will also have live entertainment and activities inside for the guests' enjoyment. Details for the special event evenings will be shared on St. Matthew's Facebook page as they are scheduled.

Fun facts about the light display:

• Total lights: 75,000 (all LEDs, 10,000 more lights than last year);

• Power consumption: 8,600 watts;

• Extension cords: nearly 3 miles.

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