Christmas. It always has that special challenge to present a unique, creative, moving experience that will give a fresh perspective on a well known narrative. One of the keys for us as we begin the process each year is to have a conversation around the tone and emotional objective we are looking for in the Christmas service experience. This will become the catalyst forward as we begin working with elements, choosing music, and enhancing the environments.
This year we landed on the theme, “Love Is Here”. The theme was actually inspired by a Laura Story song we ended up NOT using (but it is an awesome song we may use someday). Love is such a cliche term, but we wanted to communicate the warmth and security of God’s love especially in the midst of some real tumultuous times people were experiencing. We expected that people would be looking for a sense of confidence and comfort this holiday season so we let that be our tone.
The reason we didn’t use the Laura Story song was because our Music Asst. Matt Biel had written a Christmas song that we loved in its raw form and encouraged him to strengthen and refine. Fittingly, the song was titled, Love is Here. Matt and the band recorded an acoustic version and followed that up with a music video. This was used in our Christmas promotion and marketing as a free download and a “share” opportunity on social media channels. This was released the first week of December and created some great traction for us.
Our desire was to start the service up, lite and big. So we kicked it off with a great video from Igniter. The power of this video is the whisper element as it really grabbed everyone’s attention even as they were still loading into the room and finding seats.
We tied this element together seamlessly with our own original element using a Brady Bunch opener motif. The idea was to contrast the appeal to slow down and breathe with the realities of what many are feeling. We projected this on a 9-surface screen that was build specifically for this element, but used throughout the service. For effect, we lowered the screen using our lift motors and truss and started the service with the screen near the surface of the stage. At the conclusion of the video, we raised the screen as the band kicked into an upbeat version of the original song, Love Is Here (rough mix).
Our big element was an interwoven piece combining monologue, live painting, and music to set up the message. April Holiday, one of our key creative players, delivered a moving introductory monologue setting the context for the arrival of Christ. It can be found here.
Cloverton’s Christmas Hallelujah accompanied by the cello and highlighted with the live painting contained a powerful moment that set up the message so well. Our intent was to execute this moment with subtlety and allow it to speak to the heart without going over the top.
Following the message, O Holy Night (Kerrie Roberts) was sung as the painting was completed. One of our signature moments each Christmas is to feature our local and global missions partners. We chose to do this as candles were being lit throughout the room via video. Each of our partners sent a video of candles being lit as they said, “love is here, Merry Christmas” in their native language. It was powerful as the light from the screens were overwhelmed by the light in the room as 1000’s of candles were lit.
We concluded with our traditional singing of Silent Night.
- Breathe (Igniter Media)
- (Note: We cut this video prior to the kids speaking)
- Cloverton Hallelujah
- Jennifer Main Artist