Pastor Bobby has come to Harmony just in time for the 25th Annual Harmony Baptist Church Christmas Jubilee. As the town readies for the celebration, things start to fall apart. No one can decide who will play the angel in the pageant, the star on the Christmas tree won't light up, the fruitcake bake-off is a disaster, and, worst of all, the baby Jesus is missing. But as the town fights to hold on to their traditions, they learn that maybe "progress" isn't a dirty word.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but as the women of the Harmony Baptist Church Ladies Auxiliary meet to plan the Christmas Jubilee, no one is very merry. As Candy, the head of the planning committee, calls the group to order in the church meeting room, she informs the other women of the dreaded news— there’s a new pastor in town. Pastor Bobby, the progressive preacher from Floyd County, has been transferred to Harmony and is due to arrive any second. Together the women plot how to keep Pastor Bobby from interfering with their traditional Jubilee, only to have him arrive just in time to have him overhear their schemes. As the women frantically scatter, making their excuses, Pastor Bobby is left alone with 10-year-old Roberta and Dougie.
Roberta (or Bert) and Dougie, the two warring children of archrivals Tina and Marsha, offer Pastor Bobby a glimpse of how things are in Harmony. When Tina and Marsha arrive, looking for their children, Pastor Bobby begins to realize more fully the disharmony that pervades the town. When Tina takes her son Dougie away in a huff, Pastor Bobby follows, leaving Marsha and her daughter Bert alone together. Marsha tries to convince Bert to audition against Dougie for the Christmas angel in the Christmas pageant, but Bert wants none of it, until Marsha offers her the ultimate bride— the Dogfighter Remote Control Airplane kit with the ammo pack and rocket fuel. Bert agrees, and as the two rehearse, Tina and Dougie return to compete for the coveted angel role. A fight ensues between mothers and children, with Marsha accusing Tina of stealing the angel part away from her twenty years ago and Dougie and Bert arguing over who is the most qualified for the part. Candy arrives to decorate the tree and chases them all away.
As Candy unpacks her box of decorations, she calls for her son Joe Junior and her sister Carol to come help her. Instead, Pastor Bobby arrives. He offers his services but is rebuked by Candy. An angry Carol arrives, dropping boxes of decorations huffily in front of Candy and Pastor Bobby. Again, Pastor Bobby tries to help but is refused by Candy. Feeling useless, Pastor Bobby leaves Candy and Carol alone to argue over who is the rightful head of the Jubilee planning committee. Carol argues that is it her turn, whereas Candy says the women of the Auxiliary do not feel Carol is qualified because she lost the baby Jesus for the manger set. Then an obviously stoned Joe Junior arrives, looking for his girlfriend Mary. Candy sends Joe Junior to the store for cookies and complains to Carol about how unsuitable Mary is for Joe Junior (she’s of loose morals and, worse yet, she’s Catholic!). Mary arrives looking for Joe Junior, but is sent away by Candy. Candy and Carol start to decorate the tree but discover that the star for the top won’t light up. Joe Junior returns but he forgot the cookies. Candy sends him on his way again, while Carol goes through the boxes of decorations, only to discover the baby Jesus in one of Candy’s boxes. Carol accuses her sister of kidnapping the baby Jesus to keep Carol from being head of the planning committee. As the two sisters argue, Joe Junior and Mary return and are amorously reunited. As Candy threatens to separate the two teenagers, Mary announces that she is pregnant, shocking the group and sending Candy into determined denial.
As Candy, Carol, and Joe Junior try to recover from Mary’s news, Kitty, the reigning fruitcake queen of Harmony, arrives with complaints about the fruitcake bake-off. Candy quickly sends Carol, Joe Junior, and Mary away as she addresses Kitty’s concerns. The two women reminisce about Christmases past and the way things used to be. They fear the influence of Pastor Bobby will only make things worse. Pastor Bobby then arrives, wanting to help Candy with the Joe Junior and Mary situation, but she leaves him when an arguing Bert and Dougie arrive. Pastor Bobby settles the children by telling them how they are lucky to have a home, something he’s been looking for for a long time. He explains how he wants a place where he can fit in and have a true influence on his parishioners. The moment of calm is broken by the arrival of Tina and Marsha, still arguing about the pageant, followed soon by the angry mob of Carol, Candy, Joe Junior, and Mary. Lastly, Kitty enters displaying her fruitcake for the upcoming bake-off. As tensions mount and voices intensify, Pastor Bobby loses his cool and orders peace and good will— only to end up with a face full of fruitcake.
After the melee of the previous encounter, Joe Junior and Mary decide to leave town. They think there will be no making peace with Candy while Mary is pregnant. As they plan their escape, they run into Pastor Bobby, who is also leaving Harmony. Pastor Bobby counsels them to stand up to Candy, but Joe Junior isn’t up to the task. At the sound of Candy’s voice, Joe Junior runs off, with Mary hot on his trail. Bert and Dougie enter, and Pastor Bobby breaks the news to them that he is leaving. The children are dismayed because the pastor is the first person who has listened to them in a long time. As Pastor Bobby leaves, Bert and Dougie leave to hatch a plan to get the pastor to stay.
Carol and Candy arrive, and Carol tries to get Candy to come to terms with her impending grandmotherhood, but Candy still isn’t ready. Carol tries to get Candy to see that life changes as time passes, but Candy is still stuck in the past. As Carol leaves in consternation, Tina, Marsha, and Kitty arrive just in time to see Candy dissolve into tears. The women comfort her and pitch in to help with the decorating. Meanwhile, outside the church, Carol runs into Bert and Dougie, who are making signs to protest the Christmas Jubilee. Carol joins them, and the three march into the church and state their grievances.
Eventually, Candy and the other women realize that maybe progress isn’t a dirty word, and when the children reveal that Pastor Bobby is leaving town, the women start to regret their actions. Just as everyone decides to go after Pastor Bobby, Joe Junior and Mary enter to finally face Candy. As Joe Junior professes his love for Mary, Candy forgives the two and finally embraces her role as grandmother. Once again, the group starts off after Pastor Bobby, only to have him arrive at the church door. When Candy learns that it was Pastor Bobby who convinced Joe Junior and Mary to stay in Harmony, she reaches out to the pastor and the two make amends. As calm falls over the group, they realize that Christmas isn’t about extravagant decorations, patched-together pageants, and cooking competitions; it’s about family and home.
Sheer holiday entertainment…
Candy: Woman in her 50's, Joe Junior's mother and Carol's sister
Pastor Bobby: Man in his late 20's or early 30's
Kitty: Woman in her early 60's
Carol: Woman in her 40's, Candy's sister and Joe Junior's aunt
Marsha: Woman in her 30's, Roberta's mother
Tina: Woman in her late 30's, Dougie's mother
Joe Junior: Man in his early 20's, Candy's son, Carol's nephew, Mary's boyfriend
Mary: Woman in her early 20's, Joe Junior's girlfriend
Roberta: Girl about 12 years old
Dougie: Boy about 12 years old
Setting: Harmony Baptist Church
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