Christmas in the City returns to Kannapolis church

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 18, 2021

By Ann Wayne
For the Salisbury Post

KANNAPOLIS — Christmas in the City has come to town once again

This will be the eighth year of the production. Hosted by He’s Alive Church, it is designed to bring the life-changing message of the gospel to life in a way that inspires, entertains and encourages. The production includes music (traditional and modern Christmas songs), state-of-the-art media and lighting, drama and dance to communicate and display the gospel and Christmas message. An outdoor Christmas parade and a living nativity drama are included in the experience. 

The Nativity story comes to life right before your viewers’ eyes through a biblical narration. Most of the band and cast of more than 50 people are part of the He’s Alive Church family. They range from elementary school age to senior citizens. Many of them have professional musical, drama and dance experience, and have their own story of how they have been changed by the Gospel. They use their gifts to communicate this on stage to share with others. 

Mark Carnes, the lead pastor, directs and leads the production. He has an extensive background in worship and creative arts. He grew up in Waxhaw, participating in traditional Christmas programs while his mother served as the church organist. Carnes served as the worship pastor at Crossroads Church in Concord for 18 years. There, he had a vision for a Christmas production that was out of the box and rivaled shows and productions in the secular arena.

This remarkable production began as “The Christmas Spectacular” in 2000. Carnes said, “I believe God created the arts and that the church should be leading the way in creativity and the arts to communicate its message. I feel like one of my callings is to create content that reaches people in a relevant way, right where they are in life.” 

“Our mission is to reach the unbeliever and to encourage and inspire the believer with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We want to reach people with a life-giving and life-transforming message,” Carnes said.

Carnes said he hopes everyone leaves knowing Jesus can make everything new and that no one or no situation is too far gone for Jesus to rescue and redeem.

“Joy is worth choosing internally, even when the external says the opposite,” he stated. “Christmas is the perfect time of year to share a program like this, because people are open to and searching for joy and peace. The holidays can remind some people of tragedy or missing a loved one, but they seem to be open to a message of hope at Christmas more than any time of year.”

Christmas in the City is a full experience combining outdoor and indoor events. The outdoor experience portrays some of your favorite Christmas characters in a mini-Christmas parade. The living Nativity drama tells the story of the birth of Jesus in a relevant way and gives full meaning to the Christmas story. Guests will be served hot chocolate and cookies by volunteers dressed in Christmas attire. There will be a 30-minute intermission between the two productions to allow for the transition from outdoor to indoor.

The indoor experience is a full-scale production using music, media, lighting, humor, drama and dance to communicate the joy of the Gospel and the message of Christmas. There will be a few fan favorites for those who remember the “Christmas Spectacular,” but all other numbers will be brand new. A 12-foot Christmas tree and a large sleigh for family photo opportunities will adorn the lobby of He’s Alive Church during Christmas in the City. 

In the event of inclement weather, the parade will be cancelled, but the living nativity drama will be moved inside, followed by the indoor production. Attendees are welcome to attend the outdoor portion of the production on one of the other nights if it is cancelled on your ticketed evening.

Tickets are available online at or at the church office at 1310 N. Cannon Blvd., Kannapolis 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m.-noon on Friday. Those interested can also purchase by calling the office at 980-781-4920. 

Tickets are all reserved seating. When purchasing your ticket, you can select section, row and seat number.