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Living nativity shines spotlight on Christmas

December 24, 2013

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Warren Woods Christian School sixth-grader Jonathan Tweedly, as Joseph, and eighth-grader Carly Landry in the role of Mary perform “The Nativity” scene during the school’s “A Journey To Christmas” held on the school grounds Dec. 13 in Warren.
Students of Warren Woods Christian School perform for their audience during the school’s “A Journey To Christmas” living nativity.

WARREN — Local Christians relived the story of Jesus Christ’s birth Dec. 13 when students of Warren Woods Christian School performed “A Journey To Christmas” live on the school grounds outside.

The living Nativity brought to life the path of the Virgin Mary and her husband, Joseph — beginning with Mary’s encounter with the angel Gabriel and ending with the birth of Jesus in the manger.

Dressed in costumes of bathrobes, walking sticks and other accessories, the WWCS students told the biblical story through songs, music and narration. Six stations were set up, and the journey took about 30 minutes.

Although the weather was very cold, the students and their audience enjoyed the program’s festivities. Performances were held from 12:30-2:30 p.m., and 5:30-8:30 p.m. Attendees walked through the stations in groups. 

As far as school events go, “I haven’t seen anything that moved me as much as this,” said spectator Joan Parrish, of Roseville, whose grandson attends the school while another grandson already graduated. “It made my heart thump. Simple is beautiful. This school is beautiful. The parents are so interested in their children, and it shows.”

Sixth-grader Ethan Neff narrated the first stop on the journey of “Mary’s Encounter with the Angel, Gabriel.” Eighth-grader Erik Emery played Gabriel.

“Everything is going good,” Neff said.

“It’s really cool because all the grades can be in it,” said seventh-grader Charity Smith, who played the Virgin Mary on the trail’s first stop, which include her vocal performance. “We’re coming together as a school.”

“Joseph’s Dream” was resurrected at the second station.

“Joseph has a dream he’s going to have a kid with Mary,” eighth-grader Carlie Majewski said. “It’s kind of a surprise to him.”

Kyle Petitpren played Joseph. The living Nativity reminded the seventh-grader of what the Christmas season represents to him.

“When I was a kid, it was going to my aunt’s house and opening presents,” he said. But now it has a deeper meaning. “It means God sent his son to us. That means a lot more than presents.”

The WWCS student admitted to being “really nervous” when “A Journey To Christmas” started, but he eased into the role.

“I got used to it after a couple times,” he said. 

Vincent DiPiazza and Helen Hartman went on the journey. DiPiazza’s daughter is married to Hartman’s, and their granddaughter Kayla Hartman attends WWCS.

“Though it was cold, it was wonderful,” Hartman said. “I enjoyed it. They’re all singing and moving around.”

“It’s excellent,” DiPiazza said. “They did a nice job. This is more authentic.”

The stations included sets to depict each scene. The four remaining stations were “No Room at the Inn,” “Shepherds on the Hillside,” “The King’s Journey,” and “The Nativity.”

Cost to attend the living nativity was $5 per family with proceeds benefiting the school’s scholarship fund. Hot chocolate, musical performances and cookies were available inside the school gym.

About the author

Staff Writer Maria Allard covers the school districts of Center Line, Fitzgerald, Van Dyke, Warren Consolidated and Warren Woods, and Macomb Community College for the Warren Weekly newspaper. She also covers northeast Detroit, the City of Harper Woods and the Harper Woods District Schools for the Advertiser Times newspaper, and the City of Grosse Pointe Woods and the Grosse Pointe Public Schools System for the Grosse Pointe Times newspaper. Allard has worked for C&G Newspapers since 1995, and has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Wayne State University.

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