Essex United delights with rendition of a Christmas classic

by Adam Gault

Essex United Church took visitors back in time more than 170 years to explore the meaning of Christmas this past Friday evening. Children from the church, and across the county, captivated the near-capacity church auditorium with their performance of the Charles Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol.”

This was the first time “A Christmas Carol” was performed at Essex United, and was chosen in part by the event organizers as a way to bring the town closer together in keeping with the spirit of the Christmas season.

“This is such a wonderful building, and I just want people in Essex to know this is a loving, safe, wonderful community place,” church member and play director, Tracy Armstrong, explained. “[In this play] we have kids from Holy Name, Essex Public School, just a wonderful gamut of kids from all over.”

Even though the show’s performers were in their youth, or despite the age of the production, many feel that the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, the crotchety old miser who is changed into a kinder and gentler character after visits from the spirits of Christmas, is still just as relevant now as it was when it was first published during the early Victorian Ages.

“The overall idea is kindness. Christmas is a time to remember what it’s really about, regardless of your religion, culture, or your beliefs,” Armstrong said. “It’s about kindness, generosity, and spirit. It’s one of the most classic stories of all time because of the whole idea of you can be as rich as you want, but if you don’t have health, and you don’t have friends, you don’t have anything. That story still resonates in 2018.”x

Essex United also has a full list of Christmas services lined up for the remainder of December, open to everyone, including the family candlelight service at 7 PM on Christmas Eve.

“We do a wonderful, traditional Christmas service, but it’s a little bit different,” Armstrong explained. “You’re singing the Christmas carols, and some of the kids will be performing different verses from the Bible, and talking about the Christmas story.”

The Christmas Eve service will conclude with everyone gathering in a candlelit circle, singing Silent Night with a piano accompaniment.

“That Silent Night just breaks through everything, and is just such a wonderful feeling on Christmas Eve to be a part of.”