“It’s just been a great 21 years to meet the people and see the smiles on their faces,” said owner Kenneth Bowen.
Bowen is pastor of Unity Church, has a Sunday morning radio show on WANT and lived his entire life in Lebanon. He and his wife, Linda, lived in their Trousdale Ferry Pike home for more than 30 years.
Each year, the couple filled their 2.72-acre yard with six nativity scenes, Santa’s sleigh and more than 200 individual Christmas light displays, which consisted of more than 2,000 pieces. Bowen said he believed between 2,000-4,000 cars visited the light display each year.
Bowen said he decided not to do the light show this year due to family health issues and his own battle with arthritis.
“As long as you do for God, God’s going to do for you, and that’s what it was all about. I guess I would’ve went ahead and done it until I was 100, but God lets you know,” he said.
Bowen said the display started after he received a message from God.
“God spoke to me one night and said, ‘We need to keep my son’s birthday alive.’ We started from there and got out and got some sponsors,” said Bowen, who said the display was limited to the family’s front yard for the first couple of years before it grew.
“We had some of the best sponsors in Lebanon. I want to say thanks to all of them because they were the best sponsors around.”
Bowen said Christmasland attracted visitors from across the state, even as far away as Memphis.
“Last year, a guy pulled up with his grandson, who looked up to me and said, ‘Sir, your house is just awesome.’ The love and joy over the years is what’s made this thing awesome,” Bowen said.
Bowen said Christmasland was never about recognition or money, which is why it was free for visitors. He said the feedback he’s received in recent days has moved him as word has spread about the end of Christmasland.
“I’ve just seen some good things come out of this. I think the biggest thing is people thanking you for what you’ve done. I’ve just always been that kind of person. I’d rather do and give than receive,” he said.
Bowen said some of his pieces are for sale. Anyone interested may contact him at 615-202-8451.