Area Churches Hold Ecumenical Nativity Program

by Elsie Walker


The nativity is the story of the baby Jesus:  the prophecy of His birth, Mary and Joseph called to be His parents, His birth in a stable in Bethlehem, the proclamation of angels to area shepherds and the visit of three wise men from the East who bring the child gifts.  On December 8th at 5 p.m., members of several area churches will present the nativity story at Port Morris United Methodist Church at 296 Center Street in Landing.  Parking is available on the street and behind the church in its lot on Main Street.  A free will offering for a local charity will be taken. All are welcomed to attend.


This is the 17th year for this ecumenical program.  For some, taking part in telling the story has become a tradition.


“The reason my family and I participate each year is both because of the community closeness and the reminder that the true meaning of Christmas is the gift of Jesus to this world – through grace. In a world full of busyness, confusion, chaos and noise, Jesus is the Light of the World. We all need light, even if for a few moments. … I am transported back in time to Bethlehem both by my imagination and through the collective talents, to actively participate in the celebration of the birth of Jesus, my Savior,” said Stephanie Gonzalez of Valley View Chapel in Long Valley.  Both Gonzalez and her daughter will be singing, with the latter doing “Happy Birthday, Jesus”.


Each year, the story is told within a theme.  This year’s theme is “Make Me an Instrument of Thy Peace”.  As the story unfolds, each scene’s narration will include how those involved, Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth, the shepherds and wise men are instruments of God’s peace. 


The program is unique in that unlike other nativity programs, much of the action is seen in the viewer’s imagination as the narrator tells the story.  Scenes are portrayed through song, puppets, and skits.  The variety of musical styles present add to the telling of the story. Soloists and groups come from a variety of churches. Among the churches represented this year are Valley View Chapel, Long Valley; St. James Episcopal Church, Hackettstown; St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church, Netcong; St. Margaret’s of Scotland, Morristown; Flanders United Methodist Church, Flanders; the host church, and possibly more.


There will be a time of fellowship after the program, where the audience can enjoy some treats before getting on their way.


The Rev. Dr. Nick Petrov, pastor of the host church, shared, “It means a lot to Port Morris United Methodist Church to be able to host this program each year. The program is not only a joyful tradition for the Port Morris Church, but also represents the Spirit of Christmas when friends come together, the poor are remembered, and God is worshiped for the gift of the newborn Christ.”  

For more information on the program, call 973-347-0381.

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