The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

December 6, 2013

Community invited to witness journey of Holy Family

By Karen Middleton
For The News Courier

— What better way to celebrate Christmas than to witness a live nativity presentation? First Christian Church will present “The Journey of Mary and Joseph” from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22.

Viewers are to arrive on the west side of the Limestone County Courthouse Square a little before 3 p.m., according to pageant director Harriette Rost.

“A famous trumpet player will begin promptly at 3 p.m., heralding the opening of the event,” said Rost. “Singers from all over Limestone County will gather on the courthouse steps to present Christmas carols to welcome the small caravan.

“The journey of Mary and Joseph will begin at First Presbyterian Church and continue on the west side of the Square. It will proceed to Market Street to discover there is no room in the Inn.

The singers and onlookers will join the Holy Family en route to First Christian Church where they will find shelter in a small stable in front of the church.

“Everyone will proceed into the beautiful candle-lit sanctuary to hear the Christmas story and beautiful music from our ‘community’ chorus. Several children are singing solos. Guests will come out of the church to see the entire cast at the stable. Refreshments will be served in the fellowship hall of the church.” 

Rost said she was inspired to direct the Christmas pageant by the birth of a donkey on her son, Jamie Hasting’s farm.

“My grandchildren have a little pet donkey, Sadie,” she said. “She had a little boy donkey a few months ago and he was born with a constricted tendon and couldn’t stand up to nurse from his mother. The vet bandaged his little leg and taught the boys how to milk her. They put the milk in a bottle and fed her until he could stand on his own and nurse.

“Now little ‘Lucky’ runs around everywhere. I saw how gentle the mother donkey was with the children. I pictured Joseph and Mary, with child, riding the donkey and being led on the journey to Bethlehem. The thought popped into my head to have a Nativity Journey to share with others during the Christmas season. Holidays are fun, but this is a different kind of Christmas Parade, the kind that helps us remember the reason we celebrate Christmas.”

There are 24 in the cast, including Mary and Joseph, angels, shepherds, wise men, King Herod, and the innkeeper, ranging in age from 5 to 70.

“Lots of folks are helping us bring this together,” said Rost. “Many members of First Christian Church and community people will help. My family always gets involved. It was a simple story, so the props are simple. All God needed was one little donkey, a manger, and a stable.

“This is one Christmas event you don’t want to miss. Families, especially those with children, will certainly enjoy this production.”

Rost said that singers are still needed, so if anyone is interested in singing, come to practice at 3 p.m. Sunday at First Christian Church on Market.

“This is designed to be a community event,” she said.