Actor Chris Pratt is at it again, spreading the hope and love of God – plus a rousing “Merry Christmas!” — whenever he gets a public forum, this time on Saturday, Dec. 1, at Disneyland in Southern California.
In many ways, Disney has yielded to the culture and to so-called “progressive values,” in its TV and movie offerings, and at its theme parks. But — according to Robert Niles at the ThemeParkInsider.com — since its opening in 1955, Disneyland has offered the Candlelight Ceremony processional and performance at Main Street USA’s Town Square.
The invite-only affair plays just four shows over two nights on the first weekend of December, featuring nearly 700 musicians, including a live orchestra, Disney cast members and local school, church and community choirs (non-invited park attendees can view the procession itself down Main Street USA).
Among the song selections are such sacred favorites as “Away in a Manger,” “What Child Is This?” and “Silent Night.”
The finale was the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah.
Pratt, star of the hit Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World movies, was on hand this year to read the Nativity story from the Gospel of Luke, and to deliver a personal message.
Wrote Niles of the “Hallelujah Chorus”:
That moment of silence before the final chords? Chills. I loved this work as a choir geek growing up and continue to adore the power and spectacle of it performed live. And with nearly 700 musicians performing it at Disneyland? Amazing.
Pratt followed the curtain call with some clearly heartfelt words, referencing his own recent fatherhood to talk about his new-found appreciation for a father’s love.
Pratt pointed out his son in the audience, calling him “this precious little creation of mine,” and spoke from the heart as a father, saying:
I watch the ways in which he tries to please me, I just fill with a love that I feel is so pure, and unending. The way we love our children, the more we love our children, the more we will understand the capacity for our Father in heaven to love us. Each and every one of us a precious creation, and he just marvels in the ways that we can try to please Him. That should give us a great deal of comfort. I know it does for me.
This holiday season, let us embrace every one of our tomorrows with hope and love. And through this holiday spirit may we continue to spread peace and goodwill throughout the world. Thank you, and Merry Christmas!
Pratt fans know that Jack, his son with ex-wife Anna Faris, was born two months premature in 2013. Pratt has often spoken how immersing himself in prayer while Jack was fighting for his life brought him closer to his Christian faith. Although his marriage has since dissolved, Pratt’s commit to faith, and willingness to talk openly about it, has continued.
And we thank God he does!
Here’s the whole Candlelight performance; Pratt is introduced at the 50:41 mark:
Image: YouTube screenshot
Kate O’Hare, a longtime entertainment journalist, is Social Media Manager at Family Theater Productions.