A Look Back: The First Billy Graham Christmas Special

By   •   December 4, 2017

Billy Graham and Christmas tree
Cliff Barrows, George Beverly Shea and Billy Graham (left to right) during the taping of the 1952 'Hour of Decision' Christmas special.

Throughout Billy Graham’s ministry, Christmas has been a memorable time of celebration and reflecting on the gift of Jesus Christ.

The Hour of Decision television program—and later the Billy Graham TV specials—often included a December show dedicated to Christmas, complete with caroling, Bible reading and family traditions.

>>Watch the first Christmas Special (15 minutes long)

1977 Christmas Special
Cliff Barrows and George Beverly Shea stand on the set of the 1977 Billy Graham Christmas special.

The first Christmas special aired in 1952, and it started with a little-known blooper.

In 2008, while hosting that year’s Christmas show, Cliff Barrows recalled the embarrassing incident that drew a few laughs but never made it to air.

“Mr. Graham thought it’d be a good idea if he and Bev Shea and I would decorate a Christmas tree, and they gave me the task of climbing the ladder and putting the star on top. Well, I kinda lost my balance,” Mr. Barrows said.

“You don’t see this in the clip, but we fell against the tree and pretty near knocked the tree over and ornaments went everywhere,” he laughed. “We had a time putting it all together again!”

Eventually, the tree was pieced back together for another take, and the 1952 show turned out beautifully.

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  1. Jim says:

    It’s too bad they don’t have programs like this anymore.

  2. Paula Graves says:

    For years now I watch Billy Graham and now Franklin programs, I missed a lot of messages back then I wish I had heard, but now is different, so glad they are still available to see & hear. Glad this family is in so many of our lives, what a Blessing

  3. Sharon Oates says:

    I love Billy Graham so much. He has made a wonderful difference in my life for so many years. God Bless you and your ministry!!!

  4. Mary Bailly says:

    So thankful for your ministry through the years!

  5. Deborah Kerr-Moore says:

    Love Billy Graham!!! Great man of God!!!


    I Am Happy To Become A Member Of This Great Ministry Bill Graham, I Pray That God Almighty Will Lift Me Up Through This Great Ministry Billy Graham. I Have Had So Many Things God Have Been Doing In This Great Ministry And I Know That Almighty Will Continue To Bless People With This Great Ministry. I Want To Preach The Gospel Of Our Lord Jesus Christ To All The States In America And To All Nations And I Know That Through The Help Of Bill Graham Ministry God Will Use Me To Minister To Many Souls. May The Lord Bless Billy Graham`s Ministry In Jesus Name Amen.