Here comes Christmas: Music and special services remind us of the reason for the season

If you need a little reminder of what Christmas is all about, Kansas City churches are offering a variety of services, all with spectacular music, over the next few days.
If you need a little reminder of what Christmas is all about, Kansas City churches are offering a variety of services, all with spectacular music, over the next few days. The Kansas City Star

Weary of Rudolf? Tired of tinsel?

Now that you’ve remembered to buy all those AA batteries for the gifts, is it time to pause for a little spiritual re-energizing of your own?

That was the point of all this seasonal craziness, wasn’t it?

All around you over the next few days, houses of worship are offering Christmas services, many of them unusual, all of them uplifting, with wonderful music — Hallelujah! — and intriguing new takes on the old message.

Let’s start with Saturday night, with the Kantorei of Kansas City bringing Christmas music from six continents to Country Club United Methodist Church. This group and its gift of sound will warm you on a cold night. (400 West 57th St.;; $10-$15, with students free)

Here’s what’s happening on Sunday:

▪ At 9 a.m. at the Unity Church of Overland Park, “A Labor of Love” will be performed by the Revs. Jan Stromseth, Brandon Nagel and Bob Barth and soloist Joel Morrison. (10300 Antioch Road;; 913-649-1750)

▪ Is there anything more uplifting to sing, even if your voice cracks a bit, than “Gloria”? The sanctuary choir of Second Baptist, in Liberty — accompanied by brass and percussion — will belt it out during the 11 a.m. worship. (300 E. Kansas Ave.;; 816-781-2824)

▪ And then there’s the stunning Octarium at St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church. The name for this octet is Latin for “eight as one”; go at 2 p.m. to hear why it has gained a national reputation. ($10-$15; 3800 Troost Ave.;

▪ Kantorei also presents “Christmas around the World” at 3 p.m. at Visitation Church. ($10-$15; 5141 Main St.;

▪ If you’re up for a Moravian Lovefeast — relax old hippies, it’s basically buns and coffee passed around Eastern European style during the the service — be at Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral at 5 p.m. Come at 2 p.m. and hear the chorale of the Ancora Family Christmas. (415 W. 13th St.;

▪ In Gladstone, the winter solstice service will be at 5 p.m. at Meadowbrook United Methodist Church. After this event, you’ll swear that the dark of the winter nights are slowly retreating. (2800 N.E. 64th St.; 816-453-5733)

▪ “Christmas in the Temple,” led at 7 p.m. by the young adults of Central Mission, will be at Community of Christ Temple. (201 S. River Blvd., Independence;; 816-833-1000)

On Tuesday at 7 p.m., come for the masterpiece, Handel’s “Messiah.” Hallelujah, indeed! Prepare to be bought to tears by the Spire Chamber Ensemble and Baroque Orchestra, all at the city’s own shining Christmas ornament that is Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. ($20-$35; 1601 Broadway;; 816-994-7222)

On the actual night before Christmas, much will be stirring …

Including a giant puppet Nativity at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ open at 4 p.m. Then come back for 11 p.m. candlelight service. (700 E. 110th St.;; 816-942-1155)

At All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, find soup, bread, cookies and candles. (5 p.m.; 4501 Walnut St.;; 816-531-2131)

Does the Vatican know about this? At 7 p.m., Pilgrim Chapel offers what might be the most unusual event — no sermon but a short play about a world-weary pope (clearly not Francis) and a sassy snowman who bucks him up. Local musicians promise to “rock your spirit with holiday music.” (3801 Gillham Road;; 816-753-6719)

Meadowbrook United Methodist Church also will be lighting candles at 7 p.m.

Candles, too, at Northminster Presbyterian Church at 8 p.m. (1441 N.E. Englewood;, 816-453-2545)

Finally, after all that, at 6 on Christmas morn — don’t worry, the kids will have you up by then — Broadway Church has its Swedish Christmas service, followed by, what else, Swedish coffee bread and coffee. (3931 Washington St.)