Live Nativity

Young Women’s Report
By Monica Walbruch

General Information:
Live Nativity requires 11 actors depicting the following roles:
Mary
Joseph
3 Wise Men
3 Shepherds
Angel Gabriel
2 Angels

The Live Nativity took place in a stable created last year in the backyard of the church.  It was checked for sturdiness, branches were added to the roof and hay was added and placed strategically for the actors.  A CD was playing continuously; “The Nativity” by  .

Assignments for parts should be completed at least 2 weeks prior to activity.  Dress rehearsal should be held about 1 week prior.  At this time, schedule of performances and information documents should be handed out to participants.  A follow up information letter should be handed out to parents the Sunday before activity.

Costumes are stored in large plastic container in storage shed and should be washed and pressed prior to activity.  All props, such as Wiseman’s gifts and individual pairs of gloves are stored there as well.  Approximately 5 bales of hay are needed for angels to stand on, as well as 2 additional bales to fill stable.  Sound system is provided through the stake, but CD player must be brought from home.

Spotlights are used for lighting the nativity and have been provided by Brother McCormick for the last two years.  However, additional lighting might be necessary in future events.  It is suggested that spotlights be purchased by young women to keep with costumes.

An informational meeting for all leaders involved needs to be held in September to discuss projects that need to be completed before the event, changes to be made from previous years, and to help answer any questions.  Leaders should have a great understanding of the importance of this event and the opportunity it brings to help our youth build strong testimonies of our Savior’s birth and life.

Hand warmers and gloves were very beneficial and should be considered for budgetary purposes every year.  Gloves were purchased this year, and should last.  But additional pairs might need to be added in the future.  Hot chocolate was served to the youth after their performance and was a nice addition.  Also, a video presentation of the nativity was shown while youth waited to perform and helped to maintain reverence in the room.

Youth should perform no longer than one hour, in consideration of the temperatures.  This means that performers must change out in the middle of their performances.  We have tackled this issue by pulling sets of three performers at time, (Ex:  all three wise men) thus allowing some performers to continue outside.

Goals for Future Performances

Costumes:  We would like to add additional costumes each year in order to make the transition times smoother.  We found that pulling in sets of performers left some viewers unable to see the entire scene, taking away from the spiritual experience.  Costumes could be added over time, but should start with an additional costume for Mary and Joseph.  This would enable us to always have a Mary and Joseph present with the Baby Jesus.  It has also been suggested thatwe purchase white turtlenecks to be kept for the Angels, as we have had trouble with logos and prints showing through their costumes.

Lighting:  We are considering possibilities of how to add lighting affects.  One idea is to add a spotlight to shine down from the roof of the stable onto the Baby, Mary, and Joseph, hoping to create a kind of glowing affect.

Animals:  Our biggest addition for 2006 will be some sort of representation of animals.  Live animals do not seem realistic.  So suggestions have been made for some sort of cut-outs to be used.  We will work hard to maintain realism, so any addition of animals will be used to add to the background and not distract from the scene itself.

Multiple Ward Involvement:  Overall, we felt that having another ward involved helped to strengthen the Live Nativity; however, we have learned a great deal about the need for better communication between wards.  In order to maintain a two night schedule, an additional ward is necessary, and I believe a great blessing to all involved.  The two night schedule allowed many of our youth to be involved who otherwise might not have been able to because of other engagements.
Personal Insights

This has been my second year working with the Walk With Christ program, and I can honestly say that I feel like this has been the most worthwhile project I have ever been involved with.  Yes, it is a lot of work, and a great deal of sacrifice.  But, I know that many lives have been touched because of this program.  I know that our goal was to extend the gospel and open the doors to our church to the public.  And I know that many non-members and less-active members enjoyed a very spiritual experience.  I also know that if even one person is reached because of these efforts, then we have achieved the largest return of our investments that can be given.
But I would like to share with you the benefits that are received by active members, the ones who have given of their time and participated in the Walk With Christ with willing and loving hearts.  First of all, I would like to tell you that the Walk With Christ program has probably been the largest testimony builder for me.  I really have felt that this has been the Lord’s work that I have been involved with, and have only felt the Spirit stronger during my temple visits.  I know that any person that takes the tour will feel of the Spirit in each portrayal of the life of Christ.  I experienced emotions I can not even describe as I imagined myself on the Mount, or in the Garden, or at the Tomb.  Every person should experience these feelings and have the Spirit bear witness of the truth.  Also, I can not begin to tell you the change that overcomes our youth while they are portraying the different roles of the nativity.  Young faces are transformed, and the Light of Christ is plainly evident as a young woman portrays a virgin mother who has just given birth to the Savior of the World, or a young man fulfills his mission to bring a gift of gold to the newborn King.  No greater benefit can be had from this program than helping our youth to build a stronger testimony of the birth of their personal Savior.  I know that there were difficulties and mis-communications, as there will always be when working with all types of personality types.  But I truly feel that if any one active member of this church did not come out of this experience with a greater understanding for the life of our Lord and a stronger testimony of the gospel, then they did not approach this program with a “sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ”.  In addition, we may never know how many people will be brought closer to accepting the gospel because of the Walk With Christ program, but I know that we will be and have already been blessed because of our efforts.