GREENFIELD — Tia Wise watched a lot of plays online. Entertaining ones. Heart-wrenching ones.
But there was one that struck just the right note. When she saw it, she knew.
And so, “Journey to the Manger” will take the stage at 7 p.m. Friday at Bethel Baptist Church in Greenfield. A cast of about 35 will mingle on the set with storefronts as a modern-day Scrooge figure dreams his way through various eras of history, seeing Christians celebrate Christmas joyfully yet simply, before some of the busyness and commercialism of the season took hold.
“The joy in Christmas is because Jesus came to be our savior,” Wise said. “(It’s) a play that can leave everybody with a sense of hope. … To anybody that’s looking for hope, it’s their individual story as much as it’s all of ours.
“Christmas is about the manger, but the manger was just the beginning. … (it’s) about the manger but ultimately the cross…”
Many local congregations are preparing plays, concerts and other Christmas events. Here’s a day-to-day calendar to help readers find what they’re looking for to help them celebrate the sacred season.
Night in Bethlehem: It’s back after not taking place in 2020, and this year Brandywine Community Church and Park Chapel Christian Church are partnering to present it at Brandywine, 1551 E. New Road. Along a guided tour, visitors witness a census, an interactive marketplace, King Herod’s court, and a live Nativity with real animals.
Admission is free, but it’s important to reserve a time slot-specific ticket at www.brandywinechurch.org/nib. Many of the afternoon/evening time slots have already been filled.
Advent Organ Concert: 3 p.m. at Bethel Presbyterian Church, 112 S. Franklin St. in Knightstown. Artists featured will be Robin Richey, church organist; Chris and Donna Wilson, organist and flautist; and Pat Cronk, vocalist. Musical numbers will be sounds of the season.
Night of Amazing Grace: 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Fortville Christian Church, 9450 N. County Road 200W. This free outdoor Christmas event for the community features a live Nativity (which will be drive-through if the weather is inclement), refreshments, a prayer tent, and live worship music.
Advent Prayer Service: 7 p.m. at Faith Lutheran Church, 200 W. McKenzie Road, Greenfield. Also on Dec. 8, 15 and 22.
Christmas play “Journey to the Manger”: 7 p.m. at Bethel Baptist Church, 1610 S. State St., Greenfield. Children of the church will give a brief presentation before the play.
Blackwood Quartet concert: 6 p.m. New Palestine Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 4053 S. County Road 650W. More information at blackwoodquartet.net/tour/.
Annual Christmas Ring & Share Handbell Invitational: 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Cross of Grace Lutheran Church, 3519 S. County Road 600W, New Palestine. The church plays host to a handbell invitational concert, inviting other local handbell choirs to come, ring and share the Christmas music they have prepared for the season.
Greenfield Community Choir concert: 4 p.m. at St. James Lutheran Church, 1741 S. State St., Greenfield. Joe Faith, current leader of music at St. James, will direct this concert, which will consist of familiar and some not-so-familiar holiday tunes, organ and piano duets, and a carol sing-along. Those who want to will an opportunity to join the choir on-stage to sing Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. Instead of the usual ticket sales, a free-will offering will be accepted.
Joyful Days Christmas Program: 7 p.m. at Mt. Comfort Church’s Mt. Comfort campus, 3179 N. County Road 600W. Children of the church’s childcare and preschool ministries perform.
Christmas Pageant: 9 a.m. at Mohawk United Methodist Church, 2045 W. County Road 400N. It’s a presentation about the birth of Christ.
Choir musical “Almost There”: 10:30 a.m. at Fortville Church of the Nazarene, 701 S. Maple St., Fortville.
Christmas Concert: 7 p.m. at Mt. Comfort Church’s Mt. Comfort campus, 3179 N. County Road 600W. It’s preceded by a dinner at 6 p.m. and a carol sing at 6:45.