More than 400 spectators attended the live nativity presented Dec. 16 by Starkdale Presbyterian Church of Steubenville.
The live nativity was a ministry for the people of the community to enjoy illuminating the story of Christmas, according to organizers.
After being greeted by Bethlehem Inn keepers and a Roman Centurion, guests were led to the sanctuary for the shepherds' narration detailing the story of the birth of Jesus. "An angel of the Lord appeared in the night sky, and his proclamation opened the heavens to an angelic choir. Guests were then escorted outside to the manger to witness live characters dressed in period costumes," a spokesperson said.
"Wise Men, Mary and Joseph were positioned at the manger surrounded by live animals including donkeys, sheep and goats tended by shepherds. The Shepherds spoke of their discovery. Guests joined in song as additional angels sang out in 'Glory,'" the spokesperson added.
Each of the six shows concluded with light refreshments and fellowship.
"This is our second year hosting the live nativity, and it's quickly becoming a cherished tradition," says Outreach Commission Chair Jane Gambos. "The animals made the Christmas story come to life, and it's amazing to watch the children's faces light up when they see them."
"This visual reminder allows us to refocus our hearts and minds on the real reason for this joyous season," added co-coordinator Cindy Sagrilla, "providing inspiration, reflection, hope and joy."
"There is an overwhelming number of people deserving thanks for this special and successful event. The members of Starkdale who prepped, performed or supported this effort in countless ways with their time, talent and energy are great blessings. We also are truly grateful to the kind people who generously provided live stock and props," Gambos said.
For information on Starkdale Presbyterian Church and its ongoing activities, log on to starkdale.org or call the church office at (740) 264-5309.