The Road to Bethlehem awakes Christmas hope

14 Jan 2021

By Theresia Titus

Claremont Parish St Thomas the Apostle Church. Photo: Max Hoh.
Held and organised by Claremont Parish St Thomas the Apostle Church, The Road to Bethlehem concerts invoked Christmas spirits in the hearts of many. Photo: Max Hoh.

The meaning of Christmas resonated deeply with the parishioners at Claremont Parish St Thomas the Apostle as the parish choir held the 12th Road to Bethlehem concerts at the beginning of Advent on Wednesday, 2 December and Sunday, 6 December 2020. 

The concert format over the two performances was similar to the previous years, which followed the English tradition of nine readings and carols. 

The readings started with the story of “The Fall” in the Book of Genesis, followed by the Messiah’s prophecies in the Book of Isaiah, the announcing events of Christmas and concluded by the prologue from John’s Gospel. 

The Road to Bethlehem Christmas concert was held on 2 December and 6 December 2020. Photo: Max Hoh.

Accompanied by 20 Christmas carols in different languages and paintings from many countries, committee spokesperson John Kinder said the concerts meant to give people a rich Christmas experience by using music and art that depicted 2000 years of Christian tradition.

Mr Kinder also said that, to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions, the committee decided to have two smaller concerts and expected a smaller number of audiences, however as restrictions eased, there was even more audience for each of the concerts, making it the biggest Road to Bethlehem concerts in 12 years. 

“We wanted to give people an experience of Christmas, well really of Advent and we called it the Road to Bethlehem as it took place  at the beginning of Advent, and we planned it for that time to help people to begin preparing for Christmas. That was the purpose,” Mr Kinder explained.

“People were grateful for [the concerts] as they realised that Christmas was coming when they listen to the carols and see the pictures we displayed.

“People were pleased and grateful. It was such a hard year, and we had a long period when we couldn’t go Mass on Sundays. To finally be able to go to Mass and a live concert was a wonderful relief for people. It was like the end of something and the beginning of the Christmas,” he continued. 

Audiences were pleased and grateful for the concerts as it provided them with hope after a challenging year. Photo: Max Hoh.

Mr Kinder believes the concerts served their purpose by giving people the hope they need after a challenging 2020. 

“We hope that people can feel that they are not alone. You’re not alone in preparing your Christmas. We’re all doing it together globally in different languages and cultures. People are all preparing for Christmas in different ways, but it’s the same event,” he said. 

“We want people to understand that the story of Christmas is our story. It’s for each person. I mean, Jesus was born for me, and you, and for every person, and you can understand this in a more profound, more meaningful way when you know the meaning of the Christmas story; you would understand why Christ was born for you. I believe music is also powerful to communicate the beauty of the birth of Jesus.”