Last Saturday my wife, son, and I, were sitting in a church … voluntarily. As far back as I can remember … this Had Never Happened before. We were there because we’d read in the paper that this was THE place to be for the best Christmas Chorale Music.
Well … not so much. Another typical religion “bait and switch.” They promised traditional Christmas music but instead trotted out a Christian Extravaganza. The church must have some Big Donors because this was a Big Budget Production.
Singers, dancers, a small orchestra, and actors, served up a strange presentation of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem intercut with a story about an upper-middle-class couple trying to adopt a child. Every once in awhile everybody would burst into song. Contemporary Christmas pop tunes. The refrain from Jose Feliciano’s Feliz Navidad, “I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart” over and over and over until blood spurted from my ears. 90 minutes of deadly earnest Christian entertainment. Gosh it was fun.
The high point for me was leaving, but before that … the best moment of sheer lunacy was when they cranked up the fog machine, turned up the bright lights, and here comes The Angel Gabriel to tell Mary some crazy news. At that moment it looked exactly like a demented stage production of The UFO Incident, The Betty and Barney Hill Story. Gabriel was getting Mary hip to the idea that very soon the Holy Spirit would “visit” her and 9 months later it will be Christmas for The First Time. More fog, lights dim, Gabriel splits. Now Mary has to convince her fiancé that she’s not pregnant yet … but she will be pretty soon … but Joseph won’t be the father … but everything’s going to be OK because the baby will be The Son of God. Y’know … the guy that created everything.