New Jersey Church Hosting Living Star Wars Nativity

Princess Leia as Mary, Han Solo as Joseph, Chewbacca will be all the animals in the manger and R2D2 will rep the wise men.

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A church in New Jersey is taking advantage of the hysteria surrounding the long-awaited release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens by hosting three weeks worth of Star Wars-themed sermons and activities called “Cosmic Christmas.” You’ll have to drive a ways to take part, but one event in particular should totally be worth the trek.

On Christmas Eve, there will be a living Star Wars nativity scene at all five locations of Liquid Church in New Jersey. A rep from the church tells me Princess Leia will stand in as Mary, Han Solo will represent Joseph, Chewbacca will be all the animals in the manger and R2D2 will rep the wise men. What about baby Jesus, you ask? Sadly, it’s not Yoda. “We have a wooden cresh with swaddling clothes to represent Jesus, but no Star Wars character will be in the cresh,” she says.

The inspiration behind it is pretty cute: Lead Pastor Tim Lucas says that, as a kid, he sneakily replaced all the characters in his mom’s miniature nativity with his Star Wars figurines. The lineup is much like the one you’ll see at Liquid, except he swapped Jesus with a jawa. (“Sacrilege, I know!)

“We want to draw on the excitement surrounding Star Wars in order to reach new people and teach them about the birth of Jesus Christ, in a way they’ve never heard before,” says Lucas. “We believe we have the greatest story in the world, but the challenge is reaching people with that story. So, as a church, we want to be dynamic, engaging, and culturally relevant. … There are no rules that say church needs to be dry and boring. One of our core values at Liquid is that ‘church is fun.’ It’s okay to laugh and celebrate together while talking about Christmas. If that means having Star Wars characters in costume and dancing Stormtroopers, I’m all for it.”

The “Cosmic Christmas” services begin this Sunday, December 13th, with the Star Wars Nativity taking place on Christmas Eve, where kids can also meet Darth Santa and take photos with his stormtrooper elves. The festivities will conclude with a sermon that offers a twist on the Christmas story, with movie clips costumed characters and music. Rather than focus on the birth of Jesus on Earth, Lucas says he will share the story from heaven’s perspective, “which includes a rogue emperor, evil rebellion, miraculous birth, and a cosmic war behind the stars.”

“At its core, Star Wars reflects spiritual faith. It’s the battle between good and evil, the light versus the dark, and that’s something we can all rally around,” Lucas explains. Plus, not surprisingly, he’s a huge Star Wars fan. “I already have my tickets for the December 18th premiere of The Force Awakens!”

The hourlong “Cosmic Christmas” services will be held on Thursday, December 24th at Liquid Church’s five locations: Essex (2pm and 4pm), Middlesex (2pm and 4pm), Morris (noon, 2pm, 4pm and 6pm), Somerset (2pm and 4 pm), and Union (noon, 2pm, 4pm and 6pm) counties. The nearest locations to Philly, if you don’t know, are Middlesex and Somerset. The event is free, but you have to register for tickets here. Costumes are welcome!

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