ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–Some 60 unique ornaments from each of the 42 Baptist conventions and associations partnering with the North American Mission Board — from Alaska to Puerto Rico — adorn one of the three Christmas trees in the board’s lobby in Alpharetta, Ga.
“We’ve been collecting ornaments for the state tree since February, when we first requested them during the state executives’ meeting,” said Debbie Hammond, wife of NAMB President Geoff Hammond. “They started arriving in August and as late as last week, we were still getting in ornaments. We’re almost at 100 percent. Some states sent two or three.”
Debbie Hammond said the ornaments include one created on a Native American reservation in New Mexico, a replica of the Empire State Building, one representing the Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention as well as a hand-painted ornament from Puerto Rico Southern Baptists.
“When I began thinking how we can decorate our Christmas trees to show what NAMB stands for, reflect our partnerships with the state conventions and display what we do here at NAMB, I thought it would be great if each state convention would send an ornament symbolic of their state,” Hammond said.
“In traveling this year, I’ve seen the diversity of the states,” she noted. “Each is so different. Sure, we could have bought some ornaments, but I thought it would be so much better if our state partners submitted their own ornament.”
Hammond said she hopes the ornaments also will help NAMB’s staff heighten their missions focus during the Christmas season.
“That’s what we’re about — reaching people in our states, Canada and the territories. We hope folks here in the building will walk by the Christmas trees, something will catch their eye, and they’ll think to pray for our missionaries.”
In addition to the “state tree” showcasing the partnership among NAMB and the state conventions, two other Christmas trees were decorated Dec. 1 in the mission board’s lobby.
The tallest tree is the “Jesus tree,” which is topped with a crown and is decorated with many of the biblical names of Jesus, such as the “Lion of Judah,” the “Pearl of Great Price,” the “Prince of Peace,” the “Rose of Sharon” and the “Bright and Morning Star.”
The third Christmas tree is decorated with special, hand-crafted ornaments featuring the names and photos of all 340 new NAMB missionaries commissioned during 2008.
Mickey Noah is a writer for the North American Mission Board.