Our event on Saturday night is a very special one for our church and community. It is the "Live Nativity Procession," and it has the distinction of being a church presentation presented on behalf of a secular, civic organization. The Community Association is a citizen committee that works to promote the image and well-being of the city. During the 4th of July, the Association runs the parade and fireworks display. They organize many patriotic events.
And in December, they run a series of events collectively known as "Christmas Around Town." There are downtown carol sings, where the giant pine tree is lit up. There's a house decorating contest and the obligatory visit from Santa on a fire truck. And then there is the Live Nativity. At its most basic, the Community Association asks the city's church's to recreate the Nativity. Usually, one church takes the lead, with other churches participating (although the reality is that one church generally takes on most of the program). For the past four years, our church has been asked to stage and host the program.
The action begins at the little park on Main Street with the angelic announcement to Mary, then Joseph. The couple (along with a live donkey) then proceeds up the street, where the audience then sees the dramatic appearance of the angel to the shepherds. Across the covered bridge and to the Grange building, the spectators can see King Herod send the Wise Men on their way.
And then, in the front parking lot, the manger scene is recreated. No, the costumes are not Hollywood issue. And is that an angel on a.....ladder? But it's special...almost like a living Christmas card (we even have lowing cattle!)
Tonight (Saturday) was great! After days and nights of bitterly cold temperatures, an approaching front brought the temps up to a comfortable 55. There was a 60 percent chance of rain, but it didn't arrive until an hour or two after the procession! We had plenty of cast, plenty of helpers, better sound (no more strained vocal chords for the narrator). Live Nativity 06 was such an incredible blessing. Once again, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as I saw Mary and Joseph. My week has been full of personal crises that have tended to distract from the events of "The Week" (and one day, when I feel peace about sharing, I'll let you in on what's been going on. In the meantime, I covet your prayers). But as I saw Mary and Joseph, the Baby, the Shepherds and Wise Men, and the Angels, I once again felt the familiar catch in my throat as we quietly sang "Silent Night."
Two events down, one to go. Join us next entry for "The Week", episode III.