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Nativity brought to life

December 11, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN - With the red lights on her sneakers blinking, the littlest angel squirted around to join the heavenly host near a manger where Mary and Joseph kept watch over the baby.

The narrator said the angels were ecstatic to welcome the child. The shepherds, wearing gloves and jeans that peaked out from beneath their robes, were supposed to be terrified, but they smiled.

Whether they watched or participated, people at a performance of a live nativity Sunday said the production reminded them of the story behind the joyous season.

"This year, it's kind of focused on Mary and Joseph, and the humbleness of them," said Diane Mitchell, who wrote and regularly reworks her nativity play, which Emmanuel United Methodist Church performs about every two years.

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About 50 people watched as shepherds, wise men and angels gathered around Mary, Jesus (a doll) and Joseph during an outdoor performance that lasted about 20 minutes.

"It's very nice because a lot of the different ages of the church, from the real small to, you know, the narrators and the wise men, who are usually the adult members of the church," said Tammy Powell, who watched the performance with her husband and his mother.

Mitchell, who also directed the show, said about 30 people, including some children from the neighborhood, participated in Sunday's performance, the second of the weekend.

This year's title was "No Room," Mitchell said. The play emphasized the unexpected ways that God works in people's lives, she said.

Christmas is about accepting change, Mitchell said.

"God changes us everyday, and I guess that's what it means to us, and you have to be open to change everyday," Mitchell said.

Mitchell said she enjoys the production, but she admitted afterward that it always is sad to see the show close.

Leaning against cars and sitting in folding chairs near a row of luminarias, people holding little glass-encased lights added their voices to a brass band playing Christmas carols. Two boys even watched from a tree.

"It gets you in the spirit of Christmas, the true of meaning of what Christmas is, and it's nice to show the community what the meaning of Christmas is," said Jodiee Cubbage, who played Mary.

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