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Re-enactment places Oklahoma City church at 'manger'

Church members at New Covenant Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in northwest Oklahoma City re-enact the first Christmas.
by Carla Hinton Published: December 25, 2012

The beloved Christmas carol “Silent Night” took on special significance as a small group at one northwest Oklahoma City church braced against the wind.

A young woman and her husband knelt around a makeshift cradle, joined by people of varying ages and accouterments.

The annual Living Nativity at New Covenant Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) placed church members “at the manger,” the Rev. Tom Lyda said.

“The main thing is it centers our community around the birth of Christ,” said Lyda, the church's senior pastor.

“It reminds us of how delicate and yet unique that experience was because we get to be at the manger. By transporting ourselves back to the manger scene, we become part of the Christmas story.”

New Covenant, 12000 N Rockwell Ave., was one of several churches to offer a living nativity pageant this season. The traditional dramatizations typically involve colorful costumes, live animals and sometimes, frigid weather.

Church members took shifts portraying various biblical figures. Once in costume and assembled in the crèche area created in front of the church, they stood silently and sang Christmas carols.

Jay McIntosh, 54, has helped coordinate the church's nativity pageant since its beginning in 1991. He said the event has evolved over the years, but the church's commitment to doing it has never wavered.

“We wanted to do something that sparked feelings about the meaning of Christ's birth,” he said.

Participants said the joy of re-enacting that first Christmas is derived not from the theatrical aspects of the presentation but from the added spiritual dimension that comes from taking on the persona of the biblical figures prominent in the Christmas story.

Lyda, dressed in a bright robe and wearing a faux beard, portrayed one of the Three Wise Men.

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by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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