BY ROBERT L. BAKER
Around four years ago, Springville Baptist Church member Carol Hibbard was involved in some after school activities and was surprised at how little the little ones knew about the real meaning of Christmas.
There was Santa and Rudolph and Frosty and even Snoopy, but when she asked about the baby Jesus, kids were puzzled.
“We have a generation now where nearly half the population was raised away from the church,” her Pastor, Roger Roseneau, said. So, the two of them with the help of God tried to come up with a way to share he Christmas story with the public.
Enter the Living Nativity.
Not just a scene where you start with a donkey and couple at one side of a manger frame and work your way across to three wise men.
Hibbard came up with a walking tour behind her church in Springville that would have 10 different stations.
It starts with the pastor sitting in as Isaiah, an Old Testament prophet who prophesies a saviour’s birth, and moves quickly through the soon-to-be mom Mary discovering she will be with child even though she doesn’t yet have a husband.
The angel Gabriel visits her in a dream and in the next station visits her soon-to-be husband Joseph in a dream.
But far from dreaming, these are real life situations with a cranky innkeeper who has no room, but thinks he might have just the place for a girl about to give birth.
Many will probably know the rest of the story, but if you do or you’re among those who don’t, the production is well worth your time.
You need about 30 minutes to come experience the story of Jesus Christ as you are guided through 10 walk-thru scenes.
Roseneau and Hibbard say te whole production is the church’s gift to your family.
There is no charge, and no donation, but there is free parking and refreshments.
Last year the church accommodated about 300 a night, but Roseneau said there is always room for more.
A guided tour will be offered at most any time between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 3, 4 and 5, this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Scenes are outside so visitors should dress accordingly.
Hibbard said that even though she outlined a script in advance of the first production three years ago, she said the real story was right there for the taking in the Bible.
She noted the production requires around 30 persons from age 5 (the little boy Jesus) to 70 (King Herod).
Sorry, the newborn Jesus is a stand-in doll.
But, the rest of the actors come from a variety of backgrounds.
Mary is Rachel Grosvenor who is home-school but participates in athletics at Elk Lake. Joseph is AJ Frick a Bryan College graduate who lives locally. The angel Gabriel is Keenan Small from Montrose High School, another angel is Jessica Bowman from Lackawanna Trail, and brothers Jim and David Jensen, seniors at Elk Lake, are soldiers of Herod.
“We want people to get the message of anticipating the birth of the Christ child, God’s gift to all of us,” Roseneau said.
It rings loud and clear.