Disneyland has continued its tradition of an annual, overtly religious Candlelight Ceremony, which it has been throwing every year since it opened its gates in 1955. Each year “the happiest place on earth” invites visitors to witness a stupendous concert, featuring 700 musicians, traditional hymns like “Silent Night” and a reading from the Gospel of Luke.
Disney always gets a celebrity to officiate the ceremony, which has featured stars James Earl Jones, Dick Van Dyke, Ginnifer Goodwin, and last year saw Chris Hemsworth (Marvel’s Thor) at the podium. This year the crowd was treated to an appearance by “Guardians of the Galaxy’s” Chris Pratt, who went off script at the end of the touching event, speaking of parenthood and the love of God.
According to Theme Park Insider, the affair is accessible by invite only. While no seats are offered to the general public, there are standing-room viewing areas where the spectacle can be viewed all around the park. Robert Niles describes the event:
“The show begins with a live orchestra performing an overture of holidays songs, as the choir proceeds down Main Streets,” reports TPI. “As they enter Town Square, we hear the 600 voices for the first time, as the orchestra accompanies their procession on to the stage, illuminated by their candles and the Star of Bethlehem on the Main Street train station.”
The performers are drawn from local schools, churches, and community vocal groups, as well as the Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios cast. The show intersperses the telling of the biblical Christmas story between some of the most popular Christmas carols. The finale of the show brings together the 600 voice chorus and the 100 piece orchestra for a rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s “Messiah.”
Chris Pratt read from the Book of Luke during the ceremony, but when it was finished he went off script with a personal Christmas message:
“Ladies and gentlemen, it was really my honor to share this beautiful Candlelight ceremony with all of you. It’s been a very special and inspiring night. For me, being a parent has really changed my life in so many ways. And one of those ways is to understand, truly, the love that a father could have for a child.”
Pratt then pointed out his own son, who he referred to as “this precious little creation of mine” and spoke of the joy he receives as a father.
“I watch the ways in which he tries to please me, I just fill with a love that I feel is so pure, and unending,” Pratt continued. “The way we love our children, the more we love our children, the more we will understand the capacity for our Father in heaven to love us. Each and every one of us a precious creation, and he just marvels in the ways that we can try to please Him. That should give us a great deal of comfort. I know it does for me.” “This holiday season, let us embrace every one of our tomorrows with hope and love,” Pratt said. “And through this holiday spirit may we continue to spread peace and goodwill throughout the world. Thank you, and Merry Christmas!”
While the entire event is well done and worth a viewing, if you just want to hear Chris Pratt speak, you can find it below, at 50:41.