Anniston church staging live Nativity
by Eddie Burkhalter
eburkhalter@annistonstar.com
Dec 15, 2012 | 4163 views |  0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mary, played by Abby McDowell and Joseph, played by Reese Taylor, look down at baby Jesus, portrayed by Parker Stephens, one of two infants who alternate at the role in the production. (Anniston Star photo by Eddie Burkhalter)
Mary, played by Abby McDowell and Joseph, played by Reese Taylor, look down at baby Jesus, portrayed by Parker Stephens, one of two infants who alternate at the role in the production. (Anniston Star photo by Eddie Burkhalter)
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They aren’t the first to hold one. That distinction goes to St. Francis of Assisi some time around 1124.

The members of Greenbrier Baptist Church will uphold the tradition, however, by staging a living Nativity tonight and Sunday, allowing visitors to view a depiction of the birth of Christ in three dimensions.

Each night, church members will gather for four shows — 6 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. — and for thirty minutes, live out the story of the birth of Jesus. The live Nativity can be seen on the front lawn of the church off of Greenbrier-Dear Road.

Rev. Brad Williams said more than 50 church members will take part in the production, now in its third year. Just as it is in most Hollywood productions that call for a baby, the role of baby Jesus will be played by a set of twins. Parents Nick and Deesa Stephens said their four-month-old Harper will switch out with sister Parker during the shows.

Given how the production grows each year, Williams said he expects this year the church will see more than last year’s 1,000 or so visitors.

He stressed that the various scenes — from the outskirts of Bethlehem, to witnessing Roman soldiers busy completing the census, and on into the town of Bethlehem where Joseph and Mary and baby Jesus are warm and well — are set up so as to tell the whole story of Christ.

“While it is a great time to celebrate Jesus being born, he didn’t just come to be born. He came to live a life of perfection and die on the cross,” Williams said, pointing to the cross on a hill, lit in bright white lights that can be seen shortly upon entering.

The point is, Williams said, that the story didn’t end when the baby was born. He had much to do from that point forward.

The shows will run through Sunday at the church located at 1235 Greenbrier-Dear Road in Anniston and are free of charge.

Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.

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