The North Syracuse Baptist Church is hoping their annual Christmas pageant will help you find the true meaning of Christmas.
“We’d like to give this to the community as a gift,” said Assistant Pastor Bill Marshall. “It’s a way to spend time with our families, make an effort to reach out to those around us with this story. It’s such a busy time. We’re giving the community a place to come and have fun and enjoy a peaceful evening.”
This year’s show is called “Searching for the King.” It presents the timely story of a modern-day soldier making his trek through the Middle Eastern desert, struggling with his beliefs after losing his best friend to the War on Terror. It’s told in tandem with a parallel storyline of two Magi traveling the same desert in Biblical times, following a star as they search for the king they know is coming.
According to Annette Davie, who directed the pageant, this is the first time the church has put on this particular show, though the church has put on some kind of Christmas pageant since 1993. Davie said this story was one the church was happy to tell, given the number of military families in the Central New York community.
“People are making huge sacrifices right now, and the holidays are a particularly difficult time for those families with their loved ones being away,” she said. “This production, we felt, was something that might help them feel connected. It seemed like a way to draw attention to it in a supportive way. When you see this, you’re able to see something you can relate to and feel like you’re not alone. That’s a very important thing at Christmas time, and it was important for us to support them.”
Unlike traditional Christmas pageants, NSBC’s have always invited significant audience participation, which could account for their high attendance rate – Davie said past shows have drawn as many as 1,000 people a night.
“There is plenty of opportunity to sing along with familiar carols,” Davie said. “It’s a very interactive production. The cast tries to include and reach out to the audience and connect with them when singing and performing their roles.”
In addition, there will be a reception with cookies and refreshments after the show in the church hall.
“We want you to feel like family,” Davie said. “For us, the community is family here.”
Indeed, that’s why NSBC offers this presentation and opens it up to the entire community – to welcome everyone into the church as family.
“We feel strongly that this is a gift to the community,” Davie said. “At Christmas, there’s so much to celebrate. We really feel that all the hard work and time and effort we put in is worth it for Jesus’ birthday. We want to put together something that’s high-quality and family-oriented. We want this to be a family tradition for people as they celebrate the Christmas season.”
Marshall said that the show stresses the true meaning of the Christmas season.
“Rather than gifts, it’s when Christ came to the earth,” he said. “He has a fresh message of hope and salvation for those that believe. I want people to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.”
The show will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, and 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, at the church, 420 S. Main St., North Syracuse. All performances are interpreted for the deaf. Staff will be on hand to assist with parking, and attendees with special needs can be dropped off at the doors. For more information, visit the church’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/nsbcchristmas.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.