WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ
A scattering of angels waits to be called as the Nativity play begins at Holy Trinity Church.
SPRUCE GROVE – Sunday school children at Holy Trinity Parish once again reminded parishioners, and themselves, that Jesus is the reason for the Christmas season.
That's the title of their annual 15-minute Nativity play that takes the congregation through the saga of Jesus' birth in the stable of a Bethlehem inn.
Approximately half the congregation stayed behind to watch the play following Mass Dec. 18, the Fourth Sunday of Advent. About 23 children took part in the play this year.
Joseph and Mary were played by two seven-year-olds: Kaleb Hedley and Sydney Grono respectively. Baby Jesus was played by nine-day-old Catherine Landry, the third child of parish youth minister Michael Landry and his wife Jen. Their five-year-old daughter Emily also took part in the play as an angel.
The play begins with silver angels singing Silent Night and immediately goes into Jesus' birth story. The audience sees Joseph looking sad and almost defeated as he finds no room in any of the inns.
One innkeeper shows compassion and decides to let the couple stay in his inn's stable for the night. "You can use the hay for bedding," he tells the couple.
A narrator tells the audience how Mary and Joseph settle in, making a small bed in the animal feeder - preparing for the birth of their special child. As the night goes on, and the chill of the desert air surrounds the little town, Mary gives birth to a baby boy.
WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ
Kaleb Hedley (Joseph) and Sydney Grono (Mary) care for baby Jesus (Catherine Landry).
Angels and shepherds rejoiced at the birth and knelt in adoration of the precious child. The play ended with angels singing a lullaby to Baby Jesus - Away in a Manger – and with silver angels lifting up a sign that read: Jesus is the Reason for the Season.
Cassie McPherson, 12, was a silver angel in the play. "It's pretty exciting to be part of this play because I'm helping people remember a wonderful moment," she explained.
Cassie's mom, Lisa McPherson, was proud to see her three daughters in the play. "I was quite pleased when they came out of Sunday school and asked me to be part of this play," McPherson said. "This play reminds us of Jesus and his birth and the great gift God gave us and takes a little bit away from the presents and the glitz and that's really, really important."
Landry said the play was a lot of fun and he was proud to have his baby daughter play the role of Jesus. It's the second year that his daughter Emily has sung in the choir and it's something she looks forward to.
"It was just God's providence that Catherine came because she wasn't due till New Year's," said Landry. "They didn't have a newborn (to play Jesus)."
Sheila Rossi, Holy Trinity's children liturgy coordinator, has been behind the Nativity play for its entire 20-year run. A team that includes her daughter, Andrea Cook, helps her with different aspects of the play. It takes about three weeks to prepare for the performance. More than 120 children participate in children's liturgy classes and all are given an opportunity to take part in the play.
"I have a real passion for letting children know about God and how much he loves them," Rossi says. "They can read all the stories and see all the movies, but for them to be in a little production like this where they have a real baby in front of them is so rewarding. They are going to grow up and they are always going to remember, 'I was in a Nativity play.'"