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How a discarded car dealer’s flag pole became OKC’s largest Christmas tree

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A car dealership had this pole first.

It reaches to 150 feet, but was laying flat on the ground when Matthew Thomas saw it at the Allied Steel scrapyard.

"They were looking for a home for it," Thomas recalls.

He didn't think much about it until a conversation with another Matthew, Matthew Mitchell, now the senior minister at Church of the Servant.

"He's an idea guy and I'm an idea guy," says Mitchell, "and he told me about this flag pole."

Church leaders wanted to put their North 40 to use as a walk-through Nativity.

Pastor Mitchell knew exactly what he wanted there, including how to safely guide even the clumsiest visitors.

"So that the children can experience Christmas a little bit differently," the pastor says.

Matt Thomas,  President of Smith and Pickel Construction, knew just how to point the way to their new Bethlehem-- something really tall and really bright.

"It's a unique way to really stick up a sign and say, 'Hey, come check us out'," says Thomas.

It took two cranes and a lot of planning, but the pole was free, a donation for an idea that came together like divine providence.

"It looks better than I could have hoped," smiles Pastor Mitchell.

A few nights ago, they pulled the switch and Oklahoma City's largest Christmas tree glowed to life.

"This is 21,900 lights," chuckles Thomas. "We've done the math just to make sure."

You can see it for miles in every direction.

Pastor Matthew sees it as a link to one of Christ's great metaphors in the Book of Matthew.

He says, "The scripture that comes to mind is that a city on a hill can't be hidden."

Their 'Walk Through Bethlehem' isn't even open yet and people are already stopping by to look at this signpost that points the way, just like the original one did.

Mitchell says, "If you come by in the evening, there is just car after car."

For more information on Church of the Servant's Walk Through Bethlehem, visit their website or visit their Facebook page.

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