July 2, 2020
Dear friends of Celebration,
Last December, Houston's First welcomed thousands of members and guests as we celebrated the 10th production of Celebration — our spectacular musical Christmas ministry. Just like Pageant before it years ago, Celebration had become a cherished annual tradition for cast and crew to participate in and for audience members to enjoy. We love hearing stories of how the Lord used Celebration to impact lives and to draw people into a saving relationship with Him!
This past spring, staff members and volunteer leaders began wondering what might be next in terms of our musical programs during the Christmas season in 2020. Our worship ministry recognizes the unique ability of Christmas music to appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds — including those who do not follow Jesus Christ. We knew we wanted to provide something this December, but the decision was made after much prayer and many conversations to replace Celebration with something else that God will show us in His timing.
Around that time, the COVID-19 pandemic became a reality — our worship services moved online, church offices closed, staff members began working at home, and everybody learned to adjust to countless new challenges. Planning for the Christmas season was put on hold as the worship team focused on ensuring a smooth transition to our new way of worshipping together online — and hosting our first-ever online-only Easter Sunday! We sensed the Lord’s affirmation of our decision regarding Celebration once the impacts of COVID-19 became more and more apparent.
Since we typically start receiving questions about Celebration around this time of year, we wanted to provide this update now. We are not certain what large group gatherings we will be able to host in December, or what we could safely rehearse between now and then. Local and national performing arts organizations have announced extended closures into the holiday season, too. Theatre Under The Stars is delaying their season opener to December, Broadway theatres are extending their closures through the end of 2020, and the Houston Grand Opera is cancelling performances through February 2021.
So, as we navigate our church’s Roadmap To Reunion with all the twists and turns along the way, our plans for Christmas have not been finalized. We may not know today what Christmas will look like at Houston’s First, but we do know that we will rejoice in the coming of the long-awaited Savior of the world — our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace!
Pastor Gregg Matte
Josh Harris, Worship Associate
David Taylor, Choir President
Alex Hinojosa, Orchestra President