Facets of Faith: Veggie Tales and Empowered

When pulling out the classic Christmas programs, consider adding VeggieTales “Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas.”

The Christmas show is part of VeggieTales 20th anniversary.

While the plot summary sounds similar to “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” the story has enough of a fresh take to not duplicate the older show.

If you’re familiar with the videos, you know that all of the characters are vegetables, hence the name. In this one, Si Robertson, of “Duck Dynasty,” is an okra and the mall janitor. He narrates using his special way with the English language.

At the start, cucumber Larry informs the others that they are doing a last-minute program: a Christmas story.

While each Veggie names a classic Christmas show they want to star in, Larry insists the show will be about the light of Christmas.

It takes place in Spring Valley Mall, where some of the vegetables are decorating, helping the out-of-date shopping center “take it up a notch.” The goal is the “shiniest, brightest, most Christmas-ey mall” with “a million bright lights,” tinsel, music — The things that “Christmas means.”

While the decorators are spiraling out of control, Merry Larry as the mall’s Head Elf is intrigued by a child selling cards to help a neighbor rather than asking for every new toy.

Mayhem ensues — “the sky explodes” is one line that shows up — and eventually the Veggies learn that Christmas doesn’t need lights. There are other ways to shine.

Of course, there is a Silly Songs With Larry segment in the middle featuring “I Wrapped Myself Up for Christmas.”

The DVD includes a bonus section with sing-a-long tracks, a behind-the-scenes look with Roberston and a discussion guide. The ending credits and a bonus lyric video feature musicians Owl City and TobyMac singing “Light of Christmas.”

Local music

If you are looking for something for the Christian music fan in your life, consider “Soul Cry” by Empowered.

After playing in a secular rock band for years, Benny DiChiara became a Christian and was looking to continue his music.

He created the band Empowered, which is now based out of Healing Place Church. Their CD “Soul Cry” has the guitar-and-keyboard rock and ballad sounds of the 1970s and 1980s — Boston, Styx, Kansas, Journey and others.

On Facebook, facebook.com/empoweredrocks, the band says, “We are a Christian Rock band seeking to let people know of God’s love, mercy, and grace on their lives.”

Band members are DiChiara, who sings and plays keyboards; Mark Bordelon on the drums; Don Winters on lead guitar and background vocals; and Tony Fresina on bass, guitar and background vocals.

Empowered’s lyrics are strong with a feel of personal testimony to them, especially the final track, 1995, referring to the year that DiChiara was born again. “It was 1995, the year I came alive. The Holy Spirit filled me. … I was saved for all eternity in 1995.”

The title track “Soul Cry” paints the picture that “Your soul cries out” and offers that “What he did for me, he will do for you.”

The CD is $15. It is available digitally on iTunes. Hard copies can be purchased at the Healing Place bookstore, Maxwell’s on Highland or the Jambalaya Shoppe on Perkins as well as online at CDBaby.com.