Ebenezer Scrooge, the season’s most famous miser, proved no match for the glossy production values of Hillsong’s Christmas Spectacular at Baulkham Hills yesterday.

The free tickets for six sessions across two days were snapped up weeks ago, before close to 20,000 people headed to the Pentecostal mega-church to watch a reimagining of Charles Dickens’s tale of redemption, A Christmas Carol.

Lead pastor Joel A’Bell said the tale was about learning to be generous. ”There’s a bit of Scrooge in all us,” he told the crowd in one of the breaks in the production used to lead prayer, distribute gifts and hand around buckets for tithing.

A predominantly volunteer cast and crew of 150 worked on the spectacular, which included a cameo from Santa Claus and a giant toy panda as a ghost of Christmas present. It was staged at the church’s Brisbane and city campuses earlier this month, with Nutbush City Limits and Wham’s Last Christmas part of its music score.

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