Live nativity tradition continued by local church

By Jason Harris - Staff Writer
East Haddam - posted Tue., Dec. 18, 2012
Mary and Joseph at the manger in the live nativity. Photos by Jason Harris.
Mary and Joseph at the manger in the live nativity. Photos by Jason Harris.

Nothing centers a person on the reason for the season quite so much as a trip through a live nativity, and for the 10th year in a row that opportunity was presented by the Christ Community Church on the weekend of Dec. 14-15. The tradition was begun at the church, located at 50 Orchard Road in East Haddam, by Pastor Victoria Triano when she came to the church back in 2001.

“It was something I really felt was important,” Triano said. “I felt that it was important for us to do a Christmas card for the community. It really is a Christmas card to the community,” she said. The live program which seeks to transport the visitor back to Bethlehem is a series of beautiful sets and costumed members of the congregation depicting the events of Christ's birth.

“I thought it was a great way to bring Christ back into Christmas,” said church member Bruce Einhorn, who has been involved with the live nativity for six years and works behind the scenes. “It’s something the world seems to lack or has chosen not to focus on during the holiday season.”

Einhorn, who also portrayed a wise man this year, said he believes the Christmas season has become more retail than spiritual. It’s the church’s hope to bring back the true meaning of Christmas, he said.

As visitors approached the church's stone arch, the first thing they encountered was a Roman centurion reading an edict stating that everyone most go to their hometown to be counted in the census. Shepherds and angels, portrayed by children in the congregation, were next on the tour through the nativity.

When the lights focused on the angels, one of them said, "Born this day in the town of David, a savior, which is Christ the Lord." Following in the sequence are the traveling wise men and the inn where Mary and Joseph were told there was no room for them to stay.

The final scene is the nativity itself, where Joseph and Mary appear in the stable holding baby Jesus surrounded by shepherds and animals. This year sheep, a camel, and other animals that are indigenous to the Middle East were provided by Circle K Farm in East Hampton. “It’s a lot of fun for the kids, since they have never seen a live camel before,” said Triano.

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