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One Christmas Story People Rich in Spirit

One Christmas Story People Rich in Spirit  Lilly Foundation Funding Grants Insights into Religion News

Like so many of America’s once bustling industrial centers, Reading, PA, has been on a downward spiral for decades. The city has lost factories, jobs and population. The latest economic recession amplified its burdens. Something that Reading has never lost, however, is hope—hope and an abiding belief in the power of community.

ONE CHRISTMAS STORY: PEOPLE RICH IN SPIRIT, a new production from Odyssey Networks, takes viewers to the heart of this small American city for a celebration that reflects the true meaning of the holiday season—hope and caring. CBS will air the one-hour program, without commercials, starting at 11:35 PM on Christmas Eve.

The aptly named Hope Lutheran Church (a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), a beacon in Reading’s poorest neighborhood, is the scene in which a diverse congregation gathers on Christmas Eve 2012 to share the joyful songs of the season, as performed by four local choirs, and to hear the story of the birth of Christ as told through the moving words of the Scripture. Woven through the music and the readings are the stories of Reading citizens today--stories that illustrate the messages of the Gospel: sharing with neighbors, valuing the spiritual over the material, and welcoming the stranger.

Also featured in this Christmas special will be a gathering, hosted by the Salvation Army, for Reading citizens–both the needy and those who are reaching out to help with a warm welcome, shelter, food, and holiday gifts. Viewers will be struck by the parallels between this gathering and the time-honored images from the Christmas story itself–the weary travelers Mary and Joseph finding shelter, the Three Kings bringing gifts to the Child, the humble shepherds being honored by heavenly messengers, and Bethlehem, a downtrodden town in Judea, becoming the birthplace of the long-awaited Messiah.

ONE CHRISTMAS STORY: PEOPLE RICH IN SPIRITpromises to be a unique and joyous celebration of Christmas that makes the story of the birth of Christ immediate and relatable to the world in which we live now.

About Odyssey Networks

Established in 1987, Odyssey Networks, a non-profit 501 c (3), is a service of the National Interfaith Cable Coalition, Inc. It has over 150 denominational, organizational and individual members representing the world’s major faith traditions.  Odyssey produces award-winning content for cable TV, the Internet and mobile in their mission to promote understanding among people of different beliefs and perspectives www.odysseynetworks.org

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