After two decades of hosting productions featuring live animals, special effects and a large cast of actors, Evangel Cathedralunveiled Christmas Celebration 2011 that is more of a sober reflection of the troubling realities of today.

The Evangel Cathedral church performing their Christmas Celebration 2011. (Hamil R. Harris/The Washington Post )

“We wanted everybody have the impact of not just Jesus being born but the life of him,” said Minister Rhonda Belt, who has directed the production for the last decade. “We added more to the script so that people could see a good visual of what he did for everyone. You can that the see the cast is heavily involved and you can see too that it touches their heart.”

Gospel artist Marvin Sapp on faith after wife's death. (The Washington Post)

“God came to give us life and more abundantly. The first part of the pageant is great because it has the kids not just singing James Cleveland songs but everything, Motown, the Jackson 5” Hammond said.

The second act shifts to Jesus and his battle against evil. He is arrested, beaten and put to death on the cross.

Evangel has hosted massive productions for more than two decades. Bishop Don Meares, the church’s pastor, and Elder Kevin Matthews, the play’s executive producers, said the graphic scene of Jesus dying on the cross goes to heart of the Christmas story.

The Winans, BeBe and CeCe performing with Donnie McClurkin and Tye Tribbet at Evangel Cathedral. (Hamil R. Harris/The Washington Post)

Upcoming shows are Dec. 8, noon, 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 9th 5 p.m.; Dec. 15th noon, 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Dec. 16, 5 p.m.

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