Guthrie Center churches continue 40-year live nativity tradition
The Christmas story came alive Sunday afternoon at the Guthrie Livestock Auction barn in Guthrie Center. The annual live nativity performance, sponsored by the First Christian Church and Presbyterian Church in Guthrie Center took place for the 40th straight year. Each holiday season the churches perform the traditional live nativity for the community. “As you leave here tonight, take with you the spirit of the live nativity,” said Pastor Denis James. “Remember that the birth of this child can bring peace to all that will receive Him into their lives.” The nativity has a long and colorful history and is one of the church’s most cherished traditions. It shares the message of hope, forgiveness and the story of Christmas based on The Bible, with inspiring scenes that remind visitors, young and old, about the reason for the season. Terry Laughery played Joseph and McKenzie Ocker and daughter Cora, were Mary and Baby Jesus this year. They were joined in the manager by a stubborn old donkey, a trio of sheep and a little lamb. The event, offered at no cost, was started in 1978. Rev. Jerry D. Palmer and members of the Christian Church had a vision to portray a Live Nativity that included members of the church and the community. Every year, members portray the shepherds that traveled to Bethlehm; the wisemen that witness the star in the east; the angel that appeared to Mary; and the prophet. Rev. Palmer envisioned a live baby to be the Baby Jesus in the nativity scene. There have been 25 girls and 15 boys play the part. Ralph and Judy Stringer families have contributed the most Baby Jesus’ through the years with seven family members. Since the event was first presented in 1978, it has never been cancelled due to bad weather. The Nativity is a way for families to spend the holidays together. They come to a true understanding of the Christmas story, and the youngest visitors are thrilled to peer out at the live animals and the story unfolding before them. Church members lead several songs during the nativity performance and they were joined Sunday by more than 100 guests who sat on cushions in the barn to hear the story. “Remember, God repeats his greetings through us,” James concluded.