The Crystal Cathedral's Glory of Christmas is, at its heart, an old-fashioned Christmas pageant. The same story of the Christ-child's birth has been celebrated for decades in churches everywhere, but this production is anything but old-fashioned. Instead of standing wearing tinsel halos and aluminum-foil-and-cardboard wings, Glory of Christmas angels fly through the air. Live adult camels, horses and other livestock appear on stage rather than cardboard cutouts.
The soaring Crystal Cathedral is the perfect venue for the flying angels, who upstage the rest of the performance both literally and figuratively. Suspended from rigging mounted from the ceiling, they soar as high as 80 feet and travel as fast as 25 miles per hour.
Performed to an orchestral accompaniment pre-recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra, the Glory of Christmas features all the traditional scenes of Jesus' birth from Mary and Joseph's engagement through their trip to Bethlehem and the visit of the three kings.
Each scene is beautifully staged. The dance numbers are nicely choreographed and enthusiastically performed. Traditional Christmas carol favorites mix with contemporary songs, and you may find yourself humming along. The Glory of Christmas shares one characteristic with the simplest of pageants: nervous performers sing a little off-key here, too.
Adding to the Glory of Christmas pageantry are an impressive group of well-behaved creatures, among them three adult camels, six horses, a llama, a burro, a donkey, sheep and goats. Perhaps this constant parade of animals is one of the reasons the children, even the smallest ones, never seem to get bored during the hour-and-a-half Glory of Christmas performance.