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December 05, 2017 10:32 PM

Here With Us, A Preview Of Christmas At The Cathedral

Something is missing from this year's Christmas at the Cathedral in Sioux Falls, and organizers say that's the point. 

This year's theme, "Here With Us," was inspired by the writings of St. Paul. His words are from a time that happened long before our modern idea of the most wonderful time of the year. 

"Christmas isn't Christmas until the Christmas at the Cathedral event happens," Andy Henrickson, actor, said. 

Year after year, audiences have found Christmas at the Cathedral. 

"It's a time of joy and hope and love," Mark Conzemius, director and producer, said. 

"Each year is a different theme. We try to rediscover the meaning of Christmas each year," Dan Goeller, music director and conductor, said. 

The sights and sounds that fill the Cathedral of St. Joseph every holiday season bring a special message. 

"The story of Christmas is a story of hope and new birth and new life and renewal," Goeller said. 

This year, you'll notice there's something missing. You won't hear the word "Christmas" during this Christmas show. "Here with Us" gives us an ancient perspective from the writings of St. Paul.

"He never once said the word Christmas, because he was living in the first century. He wasn't there at the birth of Christ," Conzemius said. 

This year's show is doing this to highlight another point. St. Paul writes about the birth of Jesus, and says it reassures us that God is here with us. Conzemius says not only is that true on Christmas, but every day of the year. 

"God is here for all people. Everybody, even though, especially those who don't feel they're welcome," Conzemius said. 

The story of an inn keeper welcoming Mary and Joseph is an ancient tale, but Conzemius says it can give us perspective in these modern times. 

"When it gets right down to it, it's about how we treat one another when we meet the stranger on the street," Conzemius said. "To realize, I have that opportunity the next time somebody knocks on my door, how do I respond? Even if there is no room, you can still respond in a loving way."

"It's an honor, but it's also a great responsibility to bring this very important message to people. This is a message that needs to be heard," Henrickson said. 

As we've seen in the past, you'll hear that through words spoken by actors and through songs chosen for this year's production. 

"Music is one of the few things we have where, regardless of what our backgrounds are, what sort of lives we lead, when we come together, we can sing and make music. Or listen to beautiful music and remind us of what we have in common," Goeller said. 

At this year's show, you'll notice the word "Christmas" is missing from the Cathedral. That's ok, because hopefully "Here With Us" will help you find something much more important. 

"I think there's a lot of things going on in our world right now that divide us and separate us and perhaps make us a little disenchanted. We're looking for something that's going to bring us hope," Goeller said. 

Proceeds from Christmas at the Cathedral will support the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House and the Cathedral of St. Joseph. The show runs Thursday, December 14 through Sunday, December 17.

You can still buy tickets at the Catholic Community Foundation's website

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