The light of Christmas is shining brightly through plays, musicals and prayer services as the day draws near.
Here is a sampling of offerings in the Augusta area:
BROADWAY BAPTIST CHURCH will stage one performance of Langston Hughes' Black Nativity at 6 tonight. The musical, with a cast of 52 adults and children, tells the story of Jesus' birth, said Kate Watkins, who works with the youth advisory board.
Some songs will be sung from the play, and others will be spoken because there was no music available. The children have come up with tunes for some songs, which "allowed room for some creativity," she said.
The play focuses on the struggles that Joseph and Mary had trying to find a place to stay.
TWO FROM GALILEE at West Acres Baptist Church has elements of Fiddler on the Roof and Les Miserables, said the Rev. Chris Norris, minister of music.
The musical, based on a novel by Marjorie Holmes, will be staged at the church at 7 tonight and 6 p.m. Sunday. The play uses the traditional characters of Mary and Joseph, he said. "It explores how God had to work through their lives to prepare them for the birth of the Messiah."
Tickets for Two from Galilee are suggested though not required. Call 860-6573.
THERE WILL BE FOUR HANDS on the keyboards at First Baptist Church of Augusta at 4 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday when pianists Stephen Nielson and Ovid Young perform with the sanctuary choir.
They will open with traditional Christmas songs and follow with Keyboards and Carols, a reading of
the Nativity story from Scripture accompanied by sacred music, said the Rev. Stan Pylant, minister of music.
This will be the third visit by these artists, who have performed around the world for more than 25 years.
ON CHRISTMAS EVE, St. Joseph Catholic Church will present Lessons and Carols, the story of the birth of Christ from the Annunciation through the Wise Men's visit, said Nora Dukes, director of music. Eight Gospel readings from St. Luke and St. Mark will be interspersed with congregational caroling and choral music, she said.
The program will begin at 11:15 p.m. Wednesday, followed by midnight Mass.
JERUSALEM BAPTIST CHURCH will serve 750 dinners to the homeless on Christmas Day. Meals will be available at Eleanor's Kitchen, 856 Laney-Walker Blvd., at noon, after an 11 a.m. service, said the Rev. Tommy Burgess, pastor.
Jerusalem members start preparing food two days before their annual dinner. They will serve turkey and dressing, ham, string beans, black-eyed peas, sweet potato souffle, cakes, rolls and tea. "Every year we always have too much food," the Rev. Burgess said. Extras are given to the Salvation Army, he said.
TRINITY-ON-THE-HILL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH The Many Moods of Christmas will be performed at 8:45 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday by the Chancel and Sanctuary choirs and members of the Augusta Symphony. The program features carol medleys arranged by Robert Shaw and Robert Russell Bennett.
For additional listings of programs and religious services, see the seasonal listings in the Church Bulletin, this page.
WHO: Stephen Nielson and Ovid Young, piano duo
WHAT: Keyboards and Carols
WHEN: 4 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: First Baptist Church of Augusta, 3500 Walton Way
WHO: St. Joseph Catholic Church
WHAT: Lessons and Carols
WHEN: 11:15 p.m., Christmas Eve, Wednesday
WHERE: 2607 Lumpkin Road
WHO: Jerusalem Baptist Church
WHAT: Christmas Day Dinner for the Homeless
WHEN: Noon, Thursday, following 11 a.m. service
WHERE: Eleanor's Kitchen, 856 Laney-Walker Blvd.