Coming Home to Bethlehem: A Christmas Musical

Christmas and a Prodigal

written by Pastor Brent Brondyke

Not too long ago, Pastor Vradenburgh preached to us the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). He mentioned in the introduction to his sermon that even non-religious literary figures have extolled the dramatic qualities of the famous story first told by Jesus nearly two thousand years ago. We are all familiar with it. Many who don’t even know its origin or its true meaning cite it or could give a reasonable retelling.

The Biblical nativity story is even more familiar. While fewer and fewer people could recite it, it is still a well-known narrative—as Biblical stories go—even in our pervasively secular culture.

The story of the Prodigal Son is poignant in its gospel appeal: “I will arise and go to my father” (Luke 15:18). The Christmas story is pregnant with its gospel content:

“And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. And thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.”

John 1:14; Matthew 1:21

What if these two stories got together? Our 2023 Christmas musical, “Coming Home to Bethlehem” provides at least a possible answer to that question.

An original drama set in Bethlehem, PA is matched with sparkling music presented by the choirs and orchestra of Friendship Baptist Church to tell a story of rebellion, hurt, longing, waiting, and redemption. Certainly, these are the elements of both of those most familiar Biblical tales.

Told through the eyes and memory of a loving grandfather to an eager granddaughter to kill time while waiting over an ice fishing hole on a cold Pennsylvania Christmas Eve, the story will touch chords of love and longing in the hearts of believers and unbelievers alike. Like most Christmas dramas, it has a bit of a “Hallmark” quality, but, honestly, it would be a bit difficult to tell a believable, realistic story that is also interesting and meaningful in 30 minutes or less! And to be even more transparent, many of you really like Hallmark stories!

Audience members will readily identify with the characters and dramatic tensions, even if they’ve never been on a Pennsylvania farm or dropped a line through a hole in 8-inch thick ice to wait for an unsuspecting fish to become a winter lunch. That would probably describe nearly everyone in our congregation and nearly everyone you might invite. However, it truly is a relatable story—despite its “exotic” setting.

The music is comprised of stand-alone choir pieces chosen for their message and beauty. Many are accompanied by the orchestra. Solos, a duet, and the children’s and middle school choirs are also featured. Most of the songs are traditional Christmas favorites, along with a few newer songs that are particularly meaningful and striking.

Any more information might require a “spoiler alert.” Please pray, invite, and come expecting a blessing. You won’t be disappointed.

Come join us!

More Information

About Friendship Baptist Church

Our purpose is to make much of our Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel through the preaching of His Word and the making of disciples. At Friendship Baptist Church (FBC) we teach the Bible in order to facilitate spiritual growth in all of God’s people and to provide opportunities for Christian fellowship. God has graciously used Friendship to further His work both locally and across the globe since 1965.