DES MOINES, Iowa - For many families in Des Moines, admiring Christmas lights is a holiday tradition. And when Make-A-Wish Iowa announced last Sunday it was forced to close down the popular annual fundraiser, Jolly Holiday Lights, 20 days early due to rain, some thought the tradition might be in jeopardy.
That's where First Church of the Open Bible in Beaverdale comes in.
"I know people are sad about the Jolly Holiday Lights, but it really is our heart that Jesus is the light of the world, and so we wanted to ramp it up a little bit more this year," said lead pastor Spencer Keroff. "Just to express that. To light up Beaverdale, to light up our community."
The church had no intention of replacing Jolly Holiday Lights - but its members agree, it's a great coincidence that the year they ramp up their light display is the year many people lost their go-to spot for Christmas lights.
"We've actually had a number of people who have told us this is incredible," Keroff said. "They'll park across the street or in our parking lot, just to be able to get the full effect."
The synchronized light display is set to go with all your favorite holiday tunes on 98.5 FM. Byron Rees, a member of the church, came up with the idea.
"We've always had the setup for the three trees," Rees said. "We've had that for a number of years. So we had most of the equipment, and I thought, if we just add a little electronics to it, we could step it up to be a nice little display."
In total, about 30 people made the lights effort a reality at the church.
"There's been a whole crew that's been working since September," Keroff said. "We've had a husband and a wife that had the dream for this; they've been here almost every day like a job."
It's a simple gesture the church hopes will spread holiday cheer to anyone who drives by. Just down the street from the church, a neighborhood at Ashby and Beaver Avenues has its own illuminated display, as well.
"Beaverdale is the place to be this year to look at lights," Keroff said.
Giving the gift of light...at the corner of Beaver Avenue and Hickman Road. If you'd like to see it for yourself, Keroff suggests driving by anytime this week after 5:30 p.m., when the lights automatically begin their performance.