Through the hustle and bustle of Christmas, people from near and far took time to see the traditional Cantata, Christmas Is Jesus, written by Mike Speck under the direction of Bambi Rutherford.
The audience packed the Stonewall United Church on December 14th and 15th, taking time out of their busy schedule to remember the real meaning of Christmas; celebrating the joyful news of Jesus, the birth of the newborn king.
The engaging story revealed in this popular Cantata is a tale familiar to many as it has been recounted through the ages.
Sent from God, angel Gabriel descends from heaven and approaches Virgin Mary with the news that she is the chosen one to conceive the child of God.
Joseph and Mary journey to Bethlehem to register for the Roman census where she gives birth in a stable because there is no room at the inn. There is also no crib for a bed, so the baby, little Lord Jesus, lays down his sweet head in the manger.
The stars in the bright sky shine down where he lays, as he peacefully sleeps to the cattle mooing. The three wise men (three kings of orient) observe the bright star, knowing the King has been born afar, crossing moor and mountains, following yonder star. Star of wonder, star of might, star of royal beauty bright, westward heading, camels leading, guided by the celestial light.
Carrying gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, they present them to Jesus in the manger.
Continuing the traditional meaning of Christmas in the Cantata, Simeon who has been promised by God to see the Messiah before his death, waits and prays at the temple for Jesus’ arrival.
When Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the temple, Simeon immediately recognizes Jesus for who he really is and feels at peace while praising the Lord. Simeon’s life is fulfilled, and he showers Joseph, Mary and Jesus with blessings.
In the final scene, adult Jesus, Mary and Baby Jesus and Joseph are on the stage where the resurrected adult Jesus says that everything he predicted has come to pass. In order to have Jesus resurrected he must first die. In order to die, he must have first been born – this is the circle of life.
The music and the play flow together with love and life.
Reverend Leonard Oracheski who narrates the Cantata, commented that this is a “community play” with all churches in the area, where they gather together while everyone looks forward to, and enjoys the choral singing, narration and acting.
Light heartedly and loosely following the outline of the Cantata, Christmas Is Jesus truly celebrates the birth of Jesus and the real reason Christmas is here. The beauty and love shine through, carrying the true meaning of Christmas of peace, love and joy.
A standing ovation at the conclusion of the Cantata reveals this event’s popularity.
The story reminds everyone to make this season a special time to reach out and take a moment to share with family and friends; to remember those in your prayers who have no one with whom to share this special day; to take the time to cherish your loved ones and remember those who have nothing at all; to share the day of peace and love with everyone you meet by simply greeting them with a smile, which could make their Christmas.
This is the reason for the season. It is not the presents. It the essence of your presence that makes a change in the world.
Hence, Jesus Is The Reason for the Season.
Happy Holidays and enjoy the day to the fullest.
All photos by M. LeBlanc