A friend of mine goes to a mega-church near Roanoke VA. His brother, who only goes to church on Christmas and Easter, complained, “Church is dull. Why don’t we get this Christmas stuff over with so we can celebrate?”

The preacher said to my friend, “Tell your brother he’ll change his tune this year. Christmas will be a blast!” Here’s what they did:  They had a gigantic Christmas Eve show –a full orchestra of violins, flutes, trumpets and drums, played for the hundred voice choir.

The opening scene on the specially built stage in the Sanctuary was at a ski lodge full of winter revelers dressed in the latest LL Bean chic. “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” sounded from a small group gathered around the cheery neon fireplace. The enticing aroma of hot cider filled this make-believe stable.

A dog barked and chased five live sheep across the stage. He got the wayward woolies herded into a corner in time for three majestic camels to duck through a side door. Front and center, in place of the pulpit, reclined a professional model in a powder pink, polyester ski suit. A child-sized version of a Barbie Doll (That’s Barbie, not Ken), sat serenely in its car seat on a mirrored table in front of her. Multicolored spot lights played across the reflective surface while the choir sang “The Hallelujah Chorus”.

Then things got going. Angels got cranked down from the ceiling while images of “Frosty the Snowman” and “Rudolph” flashed across the giant background screen. Suddenly, the lights went out, and it was Easter morning at the darkened tomb. While the choir hummed “Silent Night”, dry ice fog drifted across the stage. Cymbals clanged, drums rolled, acrobats dressed as Roman soldiers bounced around the stage in the earthquake. A cardboard stone rumbled away as a dancer in white sequined leotards burst out of the black hole to a rainbow of whirling strobe lights. A rousing rendition of “You Better Watch Out, You better not pout” filled the room.

For the finale, the choir and actors formed a giant Christmas tree. Each one had a batter powered head piece made to look like tree ornaments. They flashed and twinkled as the people swayed to the exuberant strains of “Deck the Halls With Boughs of Holly, Tis the season to be jolly”. “…to be jolly!” A jolly good time was had by all.

The doubting brother admitted, “It sure wasn’t dull. In fact, it was quite entertaining.”

“And what part did you like the most?”

“As I said, it was all pretty good, but I really appreciated having the Easter morning part. I’ve killed two birds with one stone. Now I’ve done my church quota for the year and won’t have to go again at Easter. Thank your preacher for a jolly good time.”

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