I was six years old the year I found a long, rectangular package with my name on it under the Christmas tree. The box was wrapped in candy cane-stamped, pine-green paper, and inside was a doll. She had caramel-colored hair, a white blouse, and a red, Scottish-plaid beanie and skirt. I named her Tammy.
After dinner and baths, I sat on the floor in pajamas with my little sister. My parents and older siblings were there too. The darkened room created a theater effect. The television played a movie about Heidi, her grandfather, and an ornery goat. Christmas lights twinkled off the surface of our shiny floor like stars reflecting on a lake. We passed around bowls of popcorn, and Tammy sat on my lap. Nothing can ever take away the sense of belonging I had in that moment. For me, family identity was formed on holidays, during our shared meals, or on game nights. Those shared experiences were embedded in me as a child, creating points of connection.
Last year I attended Charis Bible College’s original production The Heart of Christmas. My son and I went with several families from his school. Sitting shoulder to shoulder with my son, a familiar warmth rushed through my senses as soon as the lights fell.
The Heart of Christmas, an original play written by Adam Stone and Elizabeth and Robert Muren, focuses on a family who passes their Christmas traditions down through a book, as the world changes rapidly around each generation. The book is the story of a “fourth” wise man who becomes separated from the other three wise men. He spends his life looking for the Messiah, whom he missed the opportunity to honor as a babe in Bethlehem.
The stage of this multimedia play is divided into one set featuring a two-story house and one set that displays all the action that occurs outside of the home. The family’s living room takes on scenes from the past up to the present, while the main stage portrays scenes from the book. With stage changes, the main stage also becomes the historical site of world events. Background action and crowd scenes are projected onto large screens behind the set, giving the production a larger-than-life feel.
If you’re looking for a shared family experience, The Heart of Christmas will transport you and your loved ones to a magical moment where cherished memories are formed and holiday traditions are made. The early-bird price is $21 for adults, but be sure to order by November 9. After November 9, regular adult admission will be $25. Children from 5 to 11 years old are $15, and children under 5 (on an adult’s lap) are free.
Plan to come to Charis a little early that day to enjoy Christmas festivities, photo opportunities with a professional photographer, and Charis’s scenic mountain property, The Sanctuary. It’s a holiday experience you won’t want to miss.
Don’t forget: Early-bird prices will only last through November 9. Go to www.heartofchristmas.org and order your tickets today!