We all know the story of the three wise men following the big, bright star to the birth of Jesus Christ on that very first Christmas. We know the story of Angel Gabriel proclaiming to the Virgin Mary that she would be the one to conceive and bear the Son of God. We’ve seen many-a-nativity scene of the lowly manger, sheltering Mary and Joseph cradling baby Jesus, with wise men, shepherds and sheep looking on.
This year, the City Harvest drama team took the audience on a re-telling of the Christmas story from a truly fresh perspective. They showed us the Christmas story from a heavenly point of view — an angelic point of view, to be more precise.
Expo Hall 8 was packed to capacity with thousands coming for the debut performance of Operation Save the World. The Christmas story opened to the gospel-funk of heaven’s angelic choir singing and grooving to a medley of Christmas carols.
The objective — to save the world. God asks His three top angels, Robin, Warren and Abigail to pitch their proposals on how to accomplish such a colossal task. Should the Savior of the world go down to Earth as the next U.S. president? Or should He unveil Himself as a world-renowned celebrity? Or better yet, should He be the ultimate superhero that the world is in dire need of.
Each presentation is delivered with style, verve and multimedia illustration by heaven’s three alpha angels. Out of the three impressive propositions, the loudest roar of approval from the audience goes out to the superhero idea. However, to everyone’s surprise, God takes none of the proposals and instead calls upon bumbling Benny, the most junior of angels. Benny is junior to the degree that he hasn’t earned his wings yet.
So Benny is the chosen angel to accomplish this mission, with reluctant Robin, Warren and Abigail ordered to back him up. With this mandate from God, the mission then unfolds on Earth.
From the get-go, in their usual finesse and flair, the top angels propose various candidates for the woman to conceive the Messiah. Again, Benny fumbles his way through and by chance, picks the young Mary as his candidate of choice. He passes the first hurdle. The story continues with Benny seemingly making a mess of every objective he is tasked. Due to his “incompetence,” Benny gets Mary and Joseph into a misunderstanding over her “holy pregnancy.” Angel Gabriel is called in to clean up the mess. Benny has further communication problems with “heartland shepherds” and his dealings with the wise men. The shepherds get confused and the wise men inadvertently get Herod to kill all the young newborns in the land. Bumbling Benny sure has gotten himself into a lot of trouble.
Each of Benny’s well-intended attempts appears to lead the mission closer toward complete disarray and impending failure. He can’t seem to do anything right. He continually “harasses” Mary and can’t even remember small but important details like making a hotel reservation for the travel-weary and pregnant-heavy couple. It seems like chaos for Benny every step of the way. But every miscommunication and blundering confusion eventually leads to the wondrous nativity scene that is celebrated all around the world to this very day.
|PHOTOS: Michael Chan|
Benny’s story personifies on many levels, the greatest attributes of the Christmas story that we know and love: trying circumstances, mistakes and desperation over consequences of those mistakes, unlikely choices and ultimately — the culmination and redemption of it all. The message is clear. From the words of Angel Benny himself, “Giving up is not an option… It is never too late… mistakes are not final.”
The crowd clapped and cheered as the finale of the drama peaked with Benny gaining his wings and fellow angels flying in from across the hall, showering the audience with sparkles of confetti. It was truly a spectacular closing for the beloved Christmas story.
Daryl Liu, a cell group leader commented, “I really enjoyed the drama and Benny in particular. He was a very real and genuine character. The characters and chain of events made the Christmas story very meaningful, for both angels and humans!”
“Exceptional! I never thought the Christmas story could be retold this way!” exclaimed Michelle Tan, a member of CHC.
Operation Save the World was undoubtedly an unforgettable Christmas production. The City Harvest drama team has once again outdone themselves. They demonstrated their astounding capacity to translate eternal stories of truth and redemption with creativity, humor and warmth, befitting of the Christmas season.
This year, a grand total of 57,487 people all over Singapore attended CHC’s Christmas services. What a great reward for the hard work the drama team had put in!