‘About Jesus’? Hillsong ‘Sells Out’ Advertised Xmas Services With Dancing Elves, Santa, Mini-Skirt Flappers

Hillsong Carols-compressed
Photo Credit: Twitter

LONDON — Hillsong London’s two advertised Xmas services that are said to be all “about Jesus,” but feature clips of Santa Claus, dancing elves, mini-skirt-wearing flappers and other concerning aspects, have both sold out.

“#HillsongCarols is now at capacity for both services at 3pm & 7:30pm,” the congregation posted on Dec. 9. “There will be no tickets on the door.”

Hillsong London had advertised the upcoming services, to be held at the SSE Arena in Wembley on Sunday, with clips from last year’s event. The snippets capture a packed house of cheering attendees being showered in ticker tape and the various high-energy performances that include an appearance by a man dressed as Santa with his host of elves.

“Carols at The SSE Arena is a night that is focused on celebrating what Christmas is really about – JESUS!” reads a description under the promotional video.

Video footage of various full performances at the 2014 show were also posted online by Hillsong London, which is arguably the largest congregation in the London area.

One performance features the carol “Silent Night” set to a nightclub-like setting with 1920’s-style flappers. The jazzy rendition features a woman in a short two-piece outfit that is cut low in the back and reveals her midsection when her arms are raised. A flapper is defined as “a young woman of the 1920’s who rebelled against conventional ideas of ladylike behavior and dress.”

Another video of the “Little Drummer Boy” featuring shirtless men pounding on drums while a woman in tight gold leather pants belts out the song as she stands in thick fog.

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Other footage online shows a beatbox rap rendition of “Silent Night” and a woman dressed in a spaceman-type outfit.

Last year, Hillsong originally offered just one service, but because it sold out quickly, a second was scheduled. This year, both services sold out within days.

In an interview with the England Evangelical Alliance, Hillsong London leader Gary Clarke said that “[t]he aim for Hillsong Carols is to have a church event where people easily could bring their friends and family to, in the hope they encounter Jesus and His message of grace.”

“The main difference [between the event and a Sunday service] is that Hillsong Carols is more of a production, with focus on different items that tell the story of God sending His son Jesus to earth, rather than an actual service,” he explained. “There are still elements of a normal service though, such as praise, worship and a short message.”

But some have expressed concern over the nature of the event, with one man writing under the promotional video, “How do you justify the use of worldly music, erotic stage dancers which is nothing short of a Vegas act, and call it Christian? It’s a fair question.”

Geoffrey Grider of Now the End Begins likewise expressed dismay at the presentation.

“Because after all, it’s just not a proper celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ without roaring 20’s flappers, rock bands, hoochie coochie dancers, laser light shows and lots and lots of leg in a nightclub setting,” he wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. “Happy Birthday, Jesus, hope you like it.”

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  • Josey

    Stop with the xmas, it is not xmas which x’s out Christ but is Christmas, granted Christmas has become so commercialized and greed is out of control and shows like Hillsong is putting on just shows their ignorance and that they are about worldly passions, Jesus isn’t in their church so not surprised that they would put on a show to entertain the world but regardless don’t x out Christ’s name since it is about Him in my life and the lives of many other Christians.

    • It’s not a roman “x”. It’s the Greek X (chi) which is the first letter of Χρήστος (Christos). It’s use dates back to the 1500s and is not “exing” Jesus out of Christmas.

      Also the familiar symbol of what looks like a big “P” with an “x” across it is also from the Greek. The symbol is called the “chi-rho” and is from the first two letters of Χρήστος.

      • Fr. Agathon

        Χρήστος with η is used for people’s names. Χριστός with ι (iota) is for Christ our Savior. The accent is on the o.

        • Thank you. I wasn’t aware of that. Is Χριστός a past participle as in “annointed?”

          • Fr. Agathon

            That is exactly correct or more appropriate: “The Anointed One”. Have a blessed Nativity, in Christ love.

  • Reason2012

    “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
    2 Timothy 4:1-4

    “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
    Romans 12:2

    “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
    James 4:4

    • afchief

      The Word of God is sooooo true!!!!

  • jael2

    Google: “origins of Christmas” and you will quickly find out, that the holiday known as “Christmass” has absolutely nothing to do with historical, biblical, Christianity. The early saints, did not celebrate Christ’s birth, but the Romans did celebrate Sol Invictus ( birth of the unconquered sun) on Dec. 25th . The Puritan’s didn’t celebrate the Romish holiday of Christmass, and neither did many of the original colonists. So while many Christians bemoan that Christ has been taken out of Christmass, the real truth is that this holiday which is rooted in ancient paganism, and revived under Rome, cannot be Christianized. It’s like trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole.

    • You’re correct in the details but I think you have missed the mark by saying that “it cannot be Christianized.” Anything can be Christianized if it is made the focus of communal piety. A candle is, after all, only a candle. But it has deep symbolic meaning in the Church and so is elevated beyond what it merely “is.” Or consider hymns and other liturgical music. They’re just notes and chords and rhythm, but they become more than mere songs because they are elevated by the Christian meaning they carry. So it’s to be expected that Christians would meditate on and celebrate the birth of their Savior. If it were to happen at all, it would have to happen on one date or another. So what is the importance if it was originally the date of a pagan holiday? The important thing is that the Western Church eventually developed the tradition of observing the Lord’s birth and eventually, for whatever reasons, chose December 25 on which to do so.

      I wish you a merry Christmas, whatever that means to you.

  • robertzaccour

    Hillsong does have some really good music IMO. Problem is, afaik they’ve yet to address the controversial issues of their church. Am I going overboard in thinking they need to address the issues in order to separate themselves from them and that ignoring those issues makes them seem in line with those controversies?

  • Nidalap

    Ha! ‘Sells out’, little double meaning there! 🙂

  • Becky

    Christmas became christmas when the catholic church said it was christmas. It’s astonishing…protestants broke away from the catholic church, yet they still continue to practice some of their doctrines.

    It doesn’t matter how much christmas is esteemed by people, it still doesn’t change its foundation and the foundation is made up of idolatry. Not a good foundation.

    We serve a jealous God and we should desire to present our love and obedience to him with all purity…not a trace of infidelity. Whoring after idols, even traces of it, has always and will always offend God…Israel is proof of that, “Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce…” Jeremiah 3:8.

    Christ is our bridegroom and the bride will be pure…

    “For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” 2 Cor 11:2.

    “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27

  • Fr. Agathon

    Sickening. Complete commercialization and secularization of the Sacred Birth of Christ.

    • To me, it is the reductio ad absurdum of being “seeker sensitive.” I firmly believe in evangelization that first emphasizes God’s unfathomable love for us while setting aside for a time the more demanding aspects of following Jesus. But to measure the success of your outreach by the number of filled seats in your venue is to deny the role of the Holy Spirit in proclaiming the Gospel.

      • jessica22

        Merry Christmas, OBOB!?

  • acontraryview

    It’s look to be a fun show!

    “hoochie coochie dancers”


  • Bill Scudder

    Hill song sold out a long time ago. We are in the last day’s. Come quickly Lord Jesus.

  • Laurence Charles Ringo

    I find it sadly amusing that Clarke said that it’s…”in the hope that friends and family will encounter Jesus and His message of grace”…what,by osmosis? Wow.I’m not often left speechless,but…Wow.

  • FoJC_Forever

    Sadly, music and video technology can be used to honor Jesus, but it is most often used simply to appeal to a “sight and sound generation”.

    Never throw away anything just because some or many people use it in a fraudulent manner.

    Follow Jesus, find Wisdom.

  • Coach

    I wish they’d come out and honestly say they hate God, rather than this outright blasphemy. Come Lord Jesus, purge our evil hearts.