A friend recently asked me why we at Thomas Road do the Virginia Christmas Spectacular. This multi-performance extravaganza, which is attended by 40,000 people each year, is about to have its 41st debut this year. Our production team has been working since January 11 on the show for this year, as it takes an entire year to pull off an original, Broadway-style production of the Spectacular’s magnitude. My friend had recently read an article by a nationally-known pastor who was questioning the purpose, relevance, expense, and drain of the show in today’s post-modern church, and was bringing his well-intentioned concerns to me for answers.
Why do we do a Christmas production when we already have a myriad of ways we are actively reaching out to the community and the world? Is putting on a show this large really the best use of our resources and energies?
I can’t speak for what God wants to do in and through your church, but I can share the conclusions we have come to in hopes that they will help you if you are trying to answer questions like this for yourself or your own well-intentioned friend.
There are several reasons we at Thomas Road put on the Virginia Christmas Spectacular. One big reason is that we realize the show provides a great creative outlet for our team of writers, musicians, dancers and performers to use their gifts and talents for the glory of God. Productions that highlight and honor godly convictions are rare, so the Spectacular offers a great avenue for our creative artists to perform in a show they believe in.
Another reason we believe in doing the Spectacular is that it is a tradition, as well as an outreach, for and to the community beyond the church. No doubt, Christmas is the best time of the year to get peripheral church members and people from the community into the building. People are looking for entertainment, the spirit of the season and fun! We all want things to do with our families during the Christmas season, but when you get past the lights and all that glows, you find that people are truly longing, and looking, for more. The Christmas season is the time when hearts are open - when people feel that the entire world around them has it all together and all they feel is stress, loneliness and pain.
As the Director of the Virginia Christmas Spectacular, this longing is what gives me inspiration. I believe these productions and concerts are often used by God to touch, encourage and change the hearts of the people who attend. I love doing a creative, fun show because I believe the excellence we strive for glorifies God and pleases Him. However, our greatest desire is to not only entertain people, but to present the hope of Christ in a fresh, new way that may be used by God to change lives forever. We strive to make the message as clear as a Christmas bell – the message that the Jesus who was the Christmas Baby is the same Jesus who grew up, died on the cross, rose from the dead and is the answer to what we all need this Christmas, and in the Christmases to come.
I have seen lives changed… and I have heard first hand testimonies too many times to not believe that all of the hard work is worth it.
So, whether you do a 20-minute retelling of the Christmas story with carols and choir (Nativity Medley 1,2 and 3) or a full two hour production with choir, orchestra, lights, cast and crew, I encourage you to throw yourself into it, pray about it, and see where God leads you for what is right for your own church.
We have great resources available to you through Red Tie that we believe will work in any church setting. We created these resources in a way that makes it possible to do the entire show or individual numbers that are not script-specific. We have big-band (Jingle in the City), Stomp-style (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen), Celtic (I Saw Three Ships/Good Christian Men Rejoice), classical (Messiah Medley), international (Yesu Klisto, Midnight Sleeping Bethlehem, etc.), power-ballads (Immanuel), and many, many others. These are proven show-stoppers and absolute audience pleasers. I hope you will take time to watch the video clips and experience these songs for yourself. I would love an opportunity to talk with you about how you can use them in your own church.
Have to go - packing my sunscreen and flip-flops - we are heading to the beach.