I made my way to the theater last night a bit early to secure a good seat. I must have temporarily forgotten that I lived in the most liberal city in the country. The ONE theater in the entire District of Columbia simulcasting Beck's show from New York didn't really have a shortage of seats. Instead, a small audience of Beck fans gathered together in a dark theater to laugh, cry and cry some more as he replayed the stage performance of his bestselling novel, "The Christmas Sweater."
"The Christmas Sweater" is about a young man who rediscovers the meaning of Christmas and the importance of faith and family though a difficult journey toward his own redemption. In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit I haven't had the opportunity to read Beck's book, but thanks to his animated performance, I got the gist.
And Beck is animated. During the course of the program, Beck portrays all characters in the story, each one with their own unique quirks and personality traits. In order to fully appreciate the performance, I had to mentally separate "political commenter Beck" from "stage actor Beck"--something that really helped me appreciate his talents as a true entertainer.
The tale of Eddie, the story's main character, parallels the true story of Beck's own life, during which he has faced the divorce of his parents at a young age, the alcoholism and eventual suicide death of his mother, as well as his own personal struggles with alcoholism as an adult. It is by our journey through these "storms" in life, Beck insists, that we truly find out who we are and what our purpose in life is. "Life isn't always fair," Beck stressed, "but it's worth it."
Following Beck's one-man performance, he introduces us to four different individuals, each of whom has had to face their own "storms" in life and who were personally impacted by Beck's story of redemption: 2 drug addicts, a mom who lost her child, and a woman who faced down breast cancer. Each of them describes their unique scenarios, but all come to the same conclusion: with faith and family, we can weather any storm. "If God can bring you to it, God can bring you through it," acknowledged one participant.
Beck's show is heart-warming and heart-wrenching; it is depressing and yet incredibly uplifting and inspiring. The fact is that Beck's "Christmas Sweater" story--complete with its emotional ups and downs--is everyone's story: we all have our own storms to face, but each of us is worthy of the journey through them.
I was in teary-eyed for a good portion of the presentation but left the theater last night with a renewed spirit--not only renewed faith in myself, but also renewed faith in the world around me. If nothing else, Beck's show temporarily helped silence my inner cynic long enough for me to take an extra moment to appreciate life and all it has to offer.
This meditative experience helped renew my profound thankfulness for this life I've been blessed with... despite its occasional storms. And isn't it this overwhelming gratitude for our blessings exactly what this season is all about?
If you're interested, Beck's "Christmas Sweater - A Road to Redemption" will be showing an encore presentation on Friday, December 10. Click here for information on participating theaters, showtimes and tickets.
PS--If you did attend Beck's show, I'd like to hear your feedback, too. Leave me a comment below!