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Phoenix First Assembly Church, located just off Cave Creek Road in Phoenix has been putting on a Christmas pageant for 33 years, and I can honestly say that I think it’s only getting better with age!
We’ve never attended their show (which is formerly known as Star of Wonder), but after doing a little research we knew we were in for something incredible. The show has an all-volunteer cast from inside the church, which I find amazing. These are ‘regular’ people who took time out of their lives to rehearse starting in September to help make this show as amazing and wondrous as possible – and they succeed! It also takes an army of volunteers to help with sound, lighting, music, seating, tickets – overall there are more than 600 people volunteering during this show.
There are two seating options for Celebration of Christmas. You can choose to purchase tickets ($15) or you can arrive early to try and get a free seat. Free seats are on a first come, first serve basis, and you should arrive at least an hour and a half prior to show time. Unfortunately, sometimes they still have to turn people away (the last weekend of the show is the most popular), so I think the reserved seats are the best way to go!
The show starts with a choir, a flying angel (seriously, she’s hanging from the ceiling!) and classic Christmas carols. The music is done with an orchestra and there are amazing lights. There are so many different scenes and dancers it’s hard to keep track. Jeremiah and Sarah loved the lights and the fog (why is the fog/smoke affect so appealing to little ones?) and all the music and dancing kept them entertained.
There’s also a snow affect, which again, my kids found amazing. Since we were sitting so close to the stage, it actually snowed on us, too!
To add to the “wow” factor of this show, not only are there amazing affects, amazing music, amazing dancers and amazing sets….there are also live animals! There was a horse-drawn carriage, dogs, camels, a kangaroo, A TIGER (caged, of course) and this lovely elephant.
Even with all the incredible lights, music, spectacle, etc, the real breathtaking part comes during the high point of the show – the nativity scene and the three wise men coming to celebrate Jesus’ birth. This includes huge processions for each of the three wise men, including camels coming down the aisles! They kneeled right next to us – it was quite awe-inspiring. There are also six angels hanging from the ceiling – it was like nothing I’d ever seen!
I cannot really put into words how astonishing this show is – you just have to see it for yourself. It lasts about an hour and 45 minutes with a very brief intermission after an hour. During the intermission, there is a collection taken for the Phoenix Dream Center, which Phoenix First Assembly supports. The Dream Center is an former hotel that’s been converted to serve homeless and low income families and individuals. It serves over 40,000 people each MONTH! What a great organization to donate to.
The show runs today, Monday, December 12th through Monday, December 19th. There are shows every weekday at 7pm and on Saturday the 17th and Sunday the 18th there are two shows, at 3pm and 7pm. Tickets can be purchased for $15 at Phoenix First Assembly’s website.
Phoenix First Assembly is located at: 13613 N Cave Creek Rd Phoenix, AZ 85022