Dec 5th 2017

The production Meaning of Christmas is a dramatic Christian production that is written and directed by Almanarah Youth Leader Matthew R Marshall. It is a story of Hope, Faith and Love that captures the true spirit and meaning of Christmas. Through out the production “Meaning of Christmas” explores the many aspects of  the commercial Christmas verse the Christian Christmas.  The production has won acclaim in that it won four Christian Dramatic Awards including Matthew winning the award for Best Director as well as the production winning the Best Drama Award.

 The production Meaning of Christmas focuses on a pregnant young woman named Kristan who has lost her faith, causing her to wander away from her religious ties and lose her way in life. On a cold December night in the run-up to Christmas, Kristan wanders back into a church supposedly for the reason to get warm. Through the story she meets the minister, a janitor and another woman her age, who all guide this lost sheep back to finding hope and rekindling her faith.  During her journey on this one fateful night Kristan will rediscover the true meaning of Christmas and what the “season” of Christmas really is about.  “At its heart, this is a story about love and the power of love,” remarks Marshall.

Meaning of  Christmas was recorded and released on DVD in time for Christmas 2009. The cast included Karlee Dowell, Alan Legg, Marcia de Deckere and Tom Jeffery. The production, written and directed by Matthew Marshall, went on to win four 2009 Christian Dramatic Awards. The production was nominated for and won, Best Production, Best Director (Matthew  R. Marshall),  Best  Actress (Karlee Dowell) and Best Actor (Alan Legg).

An encore run of  Meaning of Christmas was performed in December 2010 which  featured three new cast members. Alan Legg returned as the Reverend, Hannah Vanden Boomen was the lead role, Kristan Banks. Paige Gunning played Jennifer and Cynthia Breadner, played the Janitor. St. Thomas native Stephanie Klassen was the Stage Manager and did hair and make up for the production. Matthew Marshall returned as the director and producer for the encore run. The encore five show run opened on Nov. 13 2010  and the closing show was at Almanarah Presbyterian Church, London on December 5th 2010.

The heart of this production appeals to us as humans and our greatest personal need Love. The production explores our need to have friends, to share the things we feel and have had happened to us.  The production also is about having something like faith to grab onto when tough times come along in our lives and we feel we are alone and in the darkness. Alan Legg who plays the Reverend in the production has one section where he talks about a concept that sums up what perspective we look at life in. It talks about when you see the night sky. Do you see the darkness or the stars? If you only see the darkness and miss the stars you see hopelessness. But if you see the stars more then you see the darkness then you have hopefulness. With faith in God we have hope that there is more and that something better is to come.

In the Bible in 1st Corinthians there is a section in chapter 13 that truly gets to the core of  the Production “Meaning of Christmas”. ‘Faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love.’ – 1 Corinthians 13:13.  Love is the greatest of all human qualities and is an attribute of God. Love involves unselfish service to others. Faith is the foundation and content of God’s message; Hope is the attitude and focus; Love is the action. When faith and hope are in line, you are free to love completely because you understand how God loves. Verse 4-7 of 1st Corinthians: 13 outlines what God’s perfect love is. That kind of love is often seen in parents towards their children. That is the kind of love that Kristan the lead of Meaning of Christmas finds for her unborn baby in the production.  That kind of love that truly is the reason for the season of Christmas. For God sent His Son as a baby to live among us. So that Jesus in due time would grow to the man that would teach us of God’s love and sacrifice Himself in the ultimate loving gesture when He died on the Cross. Love truly is the greatest of all human qualities.

Matthew R. Marshall