Lifestyle

Nativity

Ellie Boone, 5, gets giggly as Cisco the alpaca nibbles feed from her hands. Boone visited the Living Nativity with her mother, Karen, and brother, Jake, 10. The Boone children have visited nativity scenes before, but the Trinity nativity is the first to have live animals, said their mother. - Cynthia Woolbright
Ellie Boone, 5, gets giggly as Cisco the alpaca nibbles feed from her hands. Boone visited the Living Nativity with her mother, Karen, and brother, Jake, 10. The Boone children have visited nativity scenes before, but the Trinity nativity is the first to have live animals, said their mother.
— image credit: Cynthia Woolbright

The stable is far from the little town of Bethlehem. The angels and shepherds work in shifts. And nearby there is warm cookies, hot cider and a heater around which the three wisemen can circle their crowned heads. It’s all part of a modest modern-day telling of the birth of Christ.

For seven-plus years, the congregation of Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland has been spreading the spirit of Christmas by hosting a living nativity.

This year’s nativity ran Sunday through Tuesday, welcoming almost 80 people each night. Visitors to the nativity on different nights were serenaded by carolers and a four-piece band.

“It brings the story to life,” said Trinity pastor Jim Lindus. “The beauty of the story is found in the surroundings in which Christ was born — a non-descript town, non-descript stable, tended by shepherds who were looked down upon and three foreigners who traveled from a far. It says a lot about what God has in mind for us.”

Many members of the church, such as Darrell Dyer and his wife, Carol, have been nativity participants for a number of years.

“I’ve been everything — shepherds, wisemen, even Joseph once,” Dyer said.

Both members of the church for 37 years, Monday night Darrell was outside being a wiseman while his wife distributed cookies inside. In previous years their granddaughter Amanda was Mary.

“It’s just great to see all the families that come out,” Dyer said.

Carolyn and Jean Streitler brought their three children to see two of the nativity’s stars — St. Augustine’s parish member Jerry Lubinski of Clinton and Abigail, the donkey.

The animals of the nativity proved to be quite a sight for some of the younger visitors. All three nights, children like Ellie Boone, 5, and Jake Boone, 10, were busy feeding the two alpacas, two sheep, and Abigail the donkey.

“We’ve sen nativities before but none had live animals, only plastic ones,” Boone said. “This is pretty special.”

Admittingly the visitors knew it wasn’t a 100 percent authentic scene. After all, the stable wasn’t wired for electricity, baby Jesus wasn’t plastic and it was desert bound camels, not their cousins alpacas that roamed.

But, it’s the though that counts.

“It helps people think about what it was like for them 2,000 years ago,” said Karen Boone, and added her son “It’s our time to honor Christ.”

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