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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Live nativity continues despite ice, frigid temps

  • The live nativity scene at the First Church of the Nazarene was enacted Saturday, Sunday and Monday, despite the ice that covered all of Hannibal on Saturday and the near-zero temperature on Monday night.
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  • The live nativity scene at the First Church of the Nazarene was enacted Saturday, Sunday and Monday, despite the ice that covered all of Hannibal on Saturday and the near-zero temperature on Monday night.
    The planners were disappointed that the icy weather prevented some people who had been in the original nativity scene 40 years ago – as teen-agers - from arriving in Hannibal to participate.
    “At least two others were going to be there, but they had told me if it iced up.” they would not come to Hannibal, said Lenora Swan, who was coordinating this annual event.
    Les Smith of Hannibal was the only participant who had been in the original live nativity 40 years ago.
    Smith, who portrayed Joseph on Saturday night, said he was only 15 years old when he was a shepherd in the first scene, and he does not remember much about it.
    However, Smith said, “it was pretty much the same as it is now.” This was when the church had recently purchased its current property at 4000 West Ely Road, and the church building had not been constructed.
    “It was pretty primitive,” Smith recalled. “There wasn’t anything there.  We changed in the garage at the parsonage,” which was nearby.
    This year he was in the first shift on the first night, Saturday, and he explained that all the people were moved into the manger for the first shift “because it was so icy.” This was for the first half hour, he said, “then they moved it back out.”
    Although Smith was the only one who had been in the original nativity scene as a teen-ager, one of the women who had helped behind the scene 40 years ago was participating. She was Shirley Johnson McIntosh, and this year her husband, Ron, joined her. They portrayed Mary and Joseph in the second shift on Saturday.
    Forty years ago, Swan said, “Shirley helped get the kids ready.”
    Joining Smith for the first shift this year were (wise men) Bill Brooks and Steve Saylor, (angel) Brittany Carroll, (shepherd)
    Jennifer Locke and (Mary) Denae Christison.
    Swan had received messages from two of the original participants, Randy Garner and Marcus Whitworth, and from Edna Jennings, who was teen director 40 years ago and helped with the first scene. Garner had planned the first scene, after Jennings had suggested the church begin this Christmas event.
    “Even though they couldn’t be there, they sent compliments for our 40 years” of doing the live nativity, Swan said.
     
    “Our car count was really low the first night, but it really picked up last night (Sunday),” Swan said on Monday, “and we had several people walk down and see the scene.”
    Page 2 of 2 - During the enactment, the church played a recording of the story of Jesus’ birth, using both words and music.
    As she prepared for the final scene on Monday night, Swan said, “tonight will be a challenge because of the cold. There may be only 15-minute shifts. We don’t want anybody to get overly cold.”
    Some of the live nativity required the people to stand still, but one unexpected event caused some fast moving.
    “We have three donkeys and two goats and no sheep this year,” Swan said.
    The excitement began when “one of the goats got loose, and one of our teens - a farm girl- tackled it,” Swan said. This was Jennifer Locke, and “she didn’t let it get past her.”
    The animals were kept in a trailer overnight.
     
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