Video courtesy of the Liquid Church

A long, long time ago, in a nativity far, far away, Jesus was born.

You're not likely to run into a stranger mashup of age-old Christmas spirit and futuristic pop culture this year than the Liquid Church's "Cosmic Christmas."

The non-denominational church began its three-week "Cosmic Christmas" series on Dec. 13 and wrapped it up with a Christmas Eve Mass. The series included what the church assures us is "New Jersey’s only live Star Wars Nativity Scene, with guests invited to line-up for their opportunity to wield a lightsaber and join the nativity with Leia, Han Solo, Chewy, and R2D2."

We don't remember hearing about Chewy's role in the nativity when we were children. We're fairly certain we would have remembered.

Children got the chance to sit on Darth Santa's lap to share their Christmas wishes with the Sith lord and his Stormtrooper elves. Each service included costumed characters, movie clips, and music.

“We want to draw on the excitement surrounding Star Wars in order to reach new people and teach them about the birth of Jesus Christ, in a way they’ve never heard before," Pastor Tim Lucas (no relation to George) said in a statement from the church. "We believe we have the greatest story in the world, but the challenge is reaching people with that story. So, as a church, we want to be dynamic, engaging, and culturally relevant."

He continued: "There are no rules that say church needs to be dry and boring. One of our core values at Liquid is that ‘church is fun.’ It’s okay to laugh and celebrate together while talking about Christmas. If that means having Star Wars characters in costume and dancing Stormtroopers, I’m all for it.”

Liquid's Christmas series took a look at the Christmas story from heaven's perspective — including, as the church put it, "a rogue emperor, evil rebellion, miraculous birth, and a cosmic war behind the stars."

"As a child I would take the family nativity and replace the figurines with Star Wars action figures – that’s the inspiration for our live Star Wars Nativity," Lucas said — a sentiment reminiscent of how another Lucas liked to mess around with the details in a much-beloved, well-established story. "At its core, Star Wars reflects spiritual faith. It’s the battle between good and evil, the light versus the dark, and that’s something we can all rally around."

“Cosmic Christmas” services were held at all five Liquid campuses in Essex, Middlesex, Morris, Somerset, and Union Counties.

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