Local Faiths, Organizations Create Live Nativity in Trophy Club
In February 2023, President Gregg Hames, a local leader of 11 congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, first envisioned an event: a Live Nativity.
Hundreds of volunteers caught on to his enthusiasm for this event, and they spent thousands of hours preparing for the Live Nativity.
“The goal was to create a community event, partnering with our friends and neighbors of other faiths, to come together as one as we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ,” President Hames said.
With great joy, unity and gratitude individuals from Community Storehouse; Fellowship United Methodist Church in Trophy Club; Roanoke Food Pantry; Catholic Charities Fort Worth; and the Alliance area of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bonded together in a Live Nativity that was held Dec. 1-2 at the LDS meetinghouse in Trophy Club.
This event honored and celebrated Jesus Christ.
During this Live Nativity, individuals experienced an immersive Bethlehem complete with a blacksmith, live music, era food, dancing and games. The intricate details were stunning, and the atmosphere serene and joyful.
In addition, actors and actresses spent hours practicing for the beautiful reenactment of the birth of Jesus Christ. Eight-year-old John Ellis performed a beautiful solo during this production.
He shared, “I liked everything about the Live Nativity. Being able to sing in it made me feel warm and happy inside. I was glad to be able to share this with others.”
John’s mom, Amanda Ellis, performed as an angel and townsperson, and said that she was really blown away by the whole production, including the Bethlehem marketplace, the displays set up outside, and the performance.
“There was so much beauty and talent all around and I felt awed and inspired,” she continued. “I loved being a part of the women’s group that sang, ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel’ in the show. The blend of voices was so beautiful.
“One part that made me tear up each time I heard it during practices and during the performances was when Mary sings to the baby about his tiny hands and feet.
“I can really relate to that emotion of love as she sang it. I love the Christmas season because I feel more peace and hope at this time. I feel so grateful to have added my testimony along with the many others by being a part of this first Live Nativity. I know the Savior came to the world to save it. I know He lives again and loves us.”
Chris Merkley, portraying Joseph in the reenactment stated, “Being a part of this Live Nativity was very special. I was asked to play Joseph’s character and it was an incredible experience to try and put myself in his shoes. I learned two very important things about Joseph. I really reflected a lot on the faith he had to have in order to choose to remain with Mary and trust the angel’s message about her pregnancy. There are several stories of ancient people seeing angels and miraculous visions, and yet still not believing or following through. By all accounts, Joseph never wavered. He used his incredible faith to trust the Lord, move forward and not second guess that decision.
“Second, I reflected on how Joseph is very much a quiet/background character to this most incredible story ever told of Christ’s birth. It made me realize and understand that the Lord doesn’t need everyone to be the shining star or the leader out in front of everyone. The Lord needs all of us and can use us, even if we seem to be more of a background character, the Lord still needs us to do our part.”
Rachel Merkley beautifully portrayed Mary in the Nativity production.
She wrote of her experience in these words, “It was quite humbling and intimidating to attempt to portray a woman so faithful and so beloved, the woman chosen by God to carry and raise His only begotten Son. As I pondered who she was and the immense faith she must have had, I began to realize that she probably also had times when she felt unqualified, intimidated by the enormous weight of being chosen as the mother of the Savior of the world. And yet she moved forward with faith and God accepted her willingness and her pure heart and qualified her for the task.
“This realization has strengthened my testimony of Heavenly Father’s love for us as we are and his ability to strengthen us and make weak things become strong! Through the atonement of Christ, who came as that tiny baby to Mary, we can all grow and change and become the versions of ourselves that He sees and loves unconditionally.”
Those who participated in the Live Nativity either by volunteering or the over 3,400 attending, are looking forward to next year’s Live Nativity. May each of us see all those around us and spread the Light of Christ in word and deed through the Christmas season and throughout this next year.