Eight Centralia churches bring Christmas story to life in Nativity event

Saturday, December 15, 2012 | 9:11 p.m. CST
Participants in a live Nativity event in Centralia on Saturday acted out scenes from the Christmas story. Several churches work together to put on the event, now in its second year.

CENTRALIA — Centralia's City Square was transformed into Bethlehem with eight scenes, live goats, cows, a donkey, a pony and a camel Saturday night.

"This is a way to showcase the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ," volunteer Jerry Parmeley said.

The scenes began with a reenactment of Mary receiving news from angel Gabriel that she would give birth to God's son. In the final scene, actors portraying Mary and Joseph welcomed baby Jesus. This final scene also involved five actors dressed as angels who sang, "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring."

"The Nativity scene is beautiful, and I have always wanted to bring it to life with live music and actors," organizer Lori Benson said. "I didn't want one church to own it. I wanted the churches in the area to take part and make it a community event because Christ is for everybody."

For the second year, eight local churches helped bring the Nativity scene to life, along with 100 volunteers and actors that guided tours through the square.

Danelle Mathews, who organized the event along with Benson, said she was thankful for the volunteers and the churches who helped bring the Nativity scene to life.

"This is not for any of our glory," Mathews said. "This is for God's glory and to share the love of Jesus."

Visitors, actors and volunteers expressed the same sentiment. 

Marla Fuller, who sang in the final scene, said, "It is great to have a unified effort. We come from different churches but we share the same belief. Moments like these allow people to remember to celebrate Christ's birth."

Abbie Ross, 9, played a shepherd but understood her part to be bigger than her role.

"If Jesus didn't come to save us, we would be in great danger," Abbie said. "He does so many things for us. It would be so sad not to understand the meaning of Christmas."

Supervising editor is Emilie Stigliani.

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