Yes, believe it our not, it’s time to talk about Christmas. After many years of having Christmas “surprise” us, we’ve started the discussions and planning earlier and earlier each year. We’ve come to realize the crucial timing of the season to bring in new people who would never step foot in a church for most of the year. To the Average Joe or Jane, taking your kids to see a Christmas show as a part of the natural rhythm of the season makes much more sense than dragging your family out of bed every Sunday morning and piling up an extra commitment to the rhythm of your week. So…we put a lot of thought, energy, creativity, and resources into our Christmas plans every year with Joe and Jane and their family in mind.
Here are a few samples of some of the Christmas productions we’ve done in past years:
Our own spin on A Christmas Carol with recent hits on the billboard charts.
We held auditions for this and then wrote the show to the people we had, which provided a fun new spin and some interesting new characters. It was kind of an Annie meets Scrooge, since we had an army of talented kids audition. We figured God always makes the best of what we offer him, so we’d better make the best of what he offered us. This fun, new take on a classic story was the result.
2012: Granger Commons Christmas Spectacular (Variety Show)
With the rising popularity of Christmas specials on TV, we thought we’d take a stab at a variety show, featuring our volunteers in their sweet spots. This was a fun show to put together, but we found the attendance wasn’t quite what we’d hoped. We found that, no matter how excellent the arts you were offering, story sells. People just weren’t sure what a “Christmas Spectacular” was. However, we had a blast!
2011: Let it Be Christmas
A Full-length production telling the Christmas Story with Beatles music. We had originally produced a shorter version of this show in 2007, which sold out. We thought we’d try it again and expand it a bit. It sold out once again. Guess people like the Beatles, but we ended up showing them Jesus is even cooler. (Sorry, John Lennon.)
A completely original full-length musical inspired by the movie “Big Fish”. What would the Christmas story look like if it took place in a vintage Circus? This was risky. Some loved it. Some, especially those who are afraid of clowns, didn’t like it so much. But I was incredibly proud of our team for trying something completely original. We grew and learned a lot from this show. At the end of “Big Fish”, people told the author, “That’s my dad! I just didn’t know how to tell his story!” The manger scene gets lost in the clutter of Christmas, so we hoped a new setting for the manger might shed some new light. We hoped people would se our show and say “That’s my God! I just didn’t know how to tell his story!”
The debate of new or traditional hits us every year. We’re hoping our continued brand of a new spin on classic, traditional tales will continue to bring new people in so they can meet Jesus. This year, we’re looking at the possibility of a Dr. Suess-themed Christmas series and creating our own spin on The Grinch. Jesus is in the business of changing hearts, and we’re hoping people might be able to meet him this Christmas and have their hearts “Grow three sizes that day” as well!
What are some ideas you’ve loved in years past that have been effect for you at Christmastime? Share in the comments below, and we can have ourselves an online brainstorm! But most importantly, take some time to ask God what he wants to say to your community through you this Christmas. After all, it is His birthday! : )