Every weekend during December, middle school students in the St. Ann Youth (SAY) program at St. Ann Catholic Parish spread the Christmas spirit by acting in a live nativity that recreates the birth of Jesus.
Dressing up in robes, gold crowns and angel wings, the youth reenact the story of the first Christmas playing the parts of all who were present including shepherds, angels, Mary, Joseph and the Three Wise Men as the audience sits on haystacks while sipping hot chocolate.
Complete with a north star, a stable and even live animals, the youth group carries out this tradition every year with the intention of making the season more meaningful to the youth and the community.
“It’s a great tradition for the Coppell community for us to share the true meaning that we believe is Christmas in a way that younger children can understand,” SAY program director Mike Leminger said.
Taking place every weekend throughout December, the live nativity has become a part of youths’ holiday season as it is an interactive way to be involved with their faith and for all to witness the story of the first Christmas.
“It helps people understand what Mary and Joseph went through on Christmas,” Coppell Middle School North eighth grader Enid Contreras said. “It get people interested in what the true meaning of Christmas is.”
Contreras played Mary and a shepherd in the live nativity in sixth grade but will not be participating again this year.
Not only does it help the audience understand more about the holiday, but it also benefits the youth who take part in it as it is a concrete way to learn about their faith.The hands on experience of taking care of the sheep when playing a shepherd, “traveling” through the audience when playing a wise man and dressing up in the biblical times garments make taking part in the live nativity overall meaningful to the youth
“Kids and parents get to know more about God and get more connected with the story of [Jesus’] life,” sixth grade SAY member Jacquelyne Torres said.
Torres plays an angel in the live nativity.
If you wish to see the youth in action, the final presentation of the live nativity will be on the southeast corner of St. Ann Parish 180 Samuel Blvd in Coppell on Saturday and Sunday from 6 p.m.- 8 p.m. with performances every half hour.