A Dallas, Texas, megachurch is responding to social media criticism of its popular Christmas multimedia event by saying, "Jesus deserves our absolute best.”
Criticism of Prestonwood Baptist Church’s “The Gift of Christmas” program led to stories in The Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle, and other Texas-based media.
This year’s event is taking place Dec. 2-4 and 7-11 and includes a living nativity, a 50-piece orchestra, a nearly 1,000-member cast and choir, an LED visual wall and live animals, according to its website. The program, which requires tickets, lasts about 100 minutes.
A TikTok of a rehearsal went viral, showing drummers suspended from the ceiling and “flying” over pews. Although more than 170,000 users “liked” the video, some of the more than 12,000 comments were critical. A few even said the church should be taxed.
@tonydaussat Little drummer boy, but TX’d #christmas #church #fyp #texas ♬ original sound - Tony Daussat
Prestonwood, though, defended the program.
“For more than a quarter of a century, Prestonwood Baptist Church has pulled out all the stops in celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ during the Christmas season,” a Prestonhood spokesperson told The Dallas Morning News. “We are grateful to have the opportunity to share this grand celebration of our Savior with as many as 75,000 people each year through ‘The Gift of Christmas.’
“At Prestonwood, we believe Jesus deserves our absolute best, especially at Christmas,” the spokesperson added. “It's unfortunate that the perennial American tradition of the church Christmas program now draws hateful ire from some. We pray that they, too, may come to know the joy of Christmas and the love of our Savior.”
The Gift of Christmas website says the event is “perfect” for families and “complete with all your Christmas favorites.”
“At the heart of this production will be the simple story of Christmas – the manger, shepherds, Joseph and Mary, the Christ child – and the glorious hope we have in our Savior!” the website says. “It is an awe-inspiring presentation of the true gift of Christmas and an experience not to be missed!”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Arkira
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.