Metro-area churches are bringing the timeless Christmas story to life through musical concerts, productions and other holiday activities and events.
The use of music and theater are among the many ways to convey the real meaning of the holiday amid a heavy dose of commercialism, local church leaders said recently.
“We talk about gifts at Christmastime. We want to portray the true gift, and that's Jesus Christ. That's why we put so much into this,” said Keith Haygood, minister of music at First Baptist Church of Edmond, referring to his church's “The Living Christmas Tree: The Gift” musical production.
Haygood said the finishing touches to the Christmas tree — which reaches from the floor to the ceiling of the church's expansive sanctuary — recently were completed. He said the fourth-annual production will include 150 choir and orchestra members and dancers. Haygood said the church will perform the production for downtown Oklahoma City homeless shelter residents on Friday. Presentations on Dec. 8 and 9 will be free and open to the public.
Other churches with elaborate musical productions include First Presbyterian Church of Edmond, Victory Church, Henderson Hills Baptist Church and Bethel Baptist Church in Norman.
Chris Crow, executive pastor of Victory Church's creative departments, said the church's production of “Scroogical” is a modern retelling of Charles Dickens' classic “A Christmas Carol.” It is, perhaps, a fitting tribute to Dickens, because 2012 marked the 200th anniversary of the novelist's birth.
Crow said Victory Church's presentation is set in modern-day New York City and includes contemporary Christian music, live bands and special effects. He said some familiar Christmas characters will pop up, as well.
“We wanted to give the community something fun, entertaining and positive to attend this holiday season,” Crow said. “This production shows what Christmas is all about.”
Other music and drama productions include Henderson Hills Baptist's “The Plan” and Bethel Baptist's “The Gospel According to Scrooge.”
Jim VanHemert, music director at First Presbyterian Church of Edmond, said the church's fifth-annual production of “One Incredible Moment” includes more than 100 cast members performing the one-hour show adapted as a Broadway-style musical by Terry Attebery. Jessie Meeks, of Oklahoma City, and Justin Attebery, of Edmond, will head the singing cast as Mary and Joseph.