Thousands gathered in City Harvest Church over the Christmas holidays to celebrate the season of love and to hear the greatest love story ever told—the birth of Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world.
The four services which were held over two days on Dec. 24 and 25, 2009 in Singapore Expo and Jurong West St 91, got off to a melodic start as the congregation sang to the tunes of familiar Christmas carols like ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ and ‘Silent Night.’
The annual Christmas drama production is a major highlight in the City Harvest calendar. This year, A Christmas Love Story, a contemporary retelling of the nativity tale, focused on the biblical journey of the young Mary and Joseph and the challenges they encountered in their relationship.
Far from being just the simple story retold numerous times over the years, A Christmas Love Story depicted the story of two people whose lives were touched and chosen by God to provide an earthly home for His Son.
Set against a backdrop of jealousy, uncertainty and love, Mary (played by Anne Ng), a young teenage girl finds herself supernaturally impregnated. Faced with family conflicts, a hostile environment and a great responsibility, she is upset when others did not believe her. Mary’s fiancé Joseph (played by Timothy Wan) was also convinced that Mary had a premarital affair and ended their relationship. They reconcile again after a divine encounter with an angel and learn what it means to see each other through for better or worse.
The traditional story was given a vibrant new twist with references to familiar pop songs and culture to bring the story to life. The audience was visibly tickled when some of the male cast danced and sang their rendition of a popular dance song “I Gotta Feeling,” by the Black Eyed Peas.
Timothy Wan, a 21-year-old student who was the lead actor of the drama production, was given the opportunity to sing for his role, which he admitted was one of the most challenging roles he had ever played. “Singing a song was one of the important challenges for this role. Since it was live show and not a pre-recorded track, I had to ensure every performance had to be a good one,” he said.
His efforts have paid off, because many felt that the drama production managed to capture the essence of Christmas.
“I enjoyed the production, especially the part where Joseph and Mary got back together after the misunderstanding. It must have been hard back then. I thought it was especially touching, because they decided to stick through thick and thin, and I think that captures the spirit of Christmas. It is a time for forgiving your loved ones, a time of joy and love,” said 28-year-old manager, Tan Sihui.
Twenty-five-year-old Xu Chunshan agrees. “Sometimes we can get so busy that we forget to appreciate the true meaning of Christmas. For me, I was reminded of the importance of reaching out and showing kindness and love to people who are in need. Just like the scene where Joseph and Mary were looking for a room but found none, we are living in a society today where people are looking for a miracle. I believe we can shine that light into their hearts and make a difference in peole’s lives,” said Xu, a social worker.
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Senior pastor Kong Hee also preached a messgae about the three types of people Jesus met. First there were the innkeepers, who rejected Jesus because they were too busy to make room for Him at their inns. Secondly, there was King Herod who was too proud to accept Jesus. And lastly, there were the three Wise Men who came searching for God and were transformed when they met Jesus face to face, in spite of their initial unbelief.
The Christmas service ended with the singing of carols and more celebration. As the congregation exchanged greetings and hugs, it was also a timely reminder for everyone that love can overcome obstacles in the new year ahead.