The innkeeper lamented that he had no room for an expectant mother and her soon-to-be-born baby, but could only offer the stable as a place to rest. Angels danced with joy announcing the birth of the baby and a wise man complained about his feet hurting as he made the long trek to see the child.
Those were some of the scenes at the 15th annual Christmas story told through the arts held at the Port Morris United Methodist Church in Roxbury earlier this month. In addition to telling the story, the night was also about giving, as an offering was taken for the Lake Hopatcong Association of Churches’ work in helping area families in need.
“The ‘arts’ part of the title refers to how we tell the story,” said Landing resident Elsie Walker who was coordinator and narrator during the event. “Every year churches of different denominations join us in presenting the scenes of the nativity story through some special talent, in a special way. That includes including a laugh now and then, such a southern belle camel puppet who wants the spotlight and shepherds arguing over their choice of a career,” she said.
This year, the participating churches were Abiding Peace Lutheran Church, Budd Lake; Valley View Chapel, Long Valley; St. Margaret’s of Scotland Roman Catholic Church, Morristown; St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church, Netcong; St. James Episcopal Church, Hackettstown, and the host church.
“Every year, we look for a new focus for the story, a different perspective from which to tell it. Also, we like to add different arts. This year, The Messengers Dance Ministry, a liturgical dance group from Abiding Peace danced to ‘Angels We Have Heard on High.’ It was something we haven’t had in years and moved many people.” Walker shared that liturgical dance is like ballet, poetic in expression.
The evening was also about giving. The program raised more than $400 for the non-profit Lake Hopatcong Association of Churches which helps local families in need. Father Chris Muldoon of Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, in Lake Hopatcong, is the treasurer of the organization. He explained his role, what the association does to help others, and how people can donate to it.
“As treasurer, I meet with people in need and help them on a one time basis, mostly, with emergency assistance with JCP&L bills, rental help, also payment for medication on occasion, perhaps car insurance and money for gasoline for travel,” Muldoon said. “We also give Shop Rite cards to help purchase food. Once or twice I have helped with car repair and twice I even helped people purchase a used car.”
Muldoon shared that if people would like to make a donation to the association, they can mail a check to: Fr. Chris Muldoon, treasurer, Lake Hopatcong Assoc. of Churches; P.O. Box 337, Lake Hopatcong, N.J. 07849.