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Christmas cheer with chalk
by MATTHEW NASH
Attendees of Faith Baptist Church’s Christmas Eve candlelight service always expect a colorful display from Pastor Lonnie Jacobson.
For 13 years, he’s drawn chalk displays that tie into his sermons centering on the birth of Jesus and/or the winter season.
“People liked it and it just grew from there,” Jacobson said.
“Generally people are impressed. Kids seem fascinated but so do the adults.”
He started the drawings while serving as pastor at Faith Community Bible Church in Bremerton. He was intrigued by the concept after reading a book by George Sweeting, past president of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Ill. Sweeting wrote about chalk art and using it to illustrate Bible stories. Jacobson said his own chalk art is complementary to sermons.
“Hopefully the drawings illustrate what I’m saying in the message,” Jacobson said.
This year’s drawing depicts Jesus’ life from the cradle to his death on the cross to being crowned in heaven. Last year’s drawing showed the three kings traveling to see baby Jesus. Previous years had Bethlehem at night, Faith Baptist covered in snow and other winter scenes. Jacobson primarily creates his chalk art for Christmas Eve although he occasionally will create an illustration for the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
Jacobson draws most of the picture in advance with fluorescent invisible ink, pastels and special paper. For the service on Christmas Eve, he uses visible colored fluorescent chalk and turns on a black light to illuminate the bright picture. He said reactions of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ are common.
“Usually you can’t tell what it is until you turn on the black light,” he said.
Sometimes church children ask for the drawing, but he normally throws each piece away after Christmas.
Jacobson said drawing is only a hobby. He did come from an artistic family with two brothers and sisters who are practicing artists, including his brother Jay Jacobson who painted the Last Supper on a wall at Holiday Plaza Sequim Inn.
Next year Jacobson plans to continue the chalk drawing tradition at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
Faith Baptist Church, 7652 Old Olympic Highway, Sequim, can be reached at 683-7303 or at email@example.com.
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.