By CHERIL VERNON
Bringing the true meaning of Christmas to life, Grapeland Baptist Church will present several living nativity scenes during a live nativity event in December.
“For the first time in what we hope will be an annual event, the church is presenting three scenes from the Christmas story: the shepherds in the fields, the stable with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, and the Magi following the Christmas star,” Grapeland Baptist Church pastor, Dr. Delmar White said. “Each Christmas site will be manned by live people and animals — with the exception of the camels — playing the various parts in the story of the advent of Jesus. Ride through, and see the Bible come to life, right before your eyes.”
The living nativity will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13 and Saturday, Dec. 14. The scenes are arranged in such a way that those viewing each setting, can drive gradually through the church parking lot and observe every one without having to exit their vehicle.
“Many at Grapeland Baptist Church have had hands on putting this together, but Ricky and Linda Hitt gave birth to the idea of the church presenting this for the community. The Hitts built the manger and began putting the idea together to bring it to fruition,” White said.
The cast consists of Wayne Stewart as Joseph, Christina Stewart as Mary, Samuel Stewart as baby Jesus and Claire Stewart as the angel in the manger. The wise men are Ken Bogue, Bill Chavis and Bert Duerer. Shepherds are White, Terry Saxon, Chantry Stagner and Jacob Saxon. Angels with the Shepherds are Emma Saxon and Kayla Walker. Bethlehem women are being played by Linda Hitt, Debra White, Brenda Christian, Sue Kindred and Danica Saxon.
The costumes were made by several ladies of the church. Live animals are supplied by the Stewarts.
“As you drive through the living nativity, the 'Bethlehem Ladies' will be handing out candy canes along with the 'Legend of the Candy Cane' attached to each candy cane,” White said.
Grapeland Baptist Church is located just off of U.S. 287 South on FM 227 East (the Augusta Highway) across the road from the Exxon Cracker Barrel.