#FollowTheStar and a Live Nativity at St Mary's Church Snettisham
16 December 2019
The whole of the entrance is lit up by a large star over the main gates and lights twinkle on the large yews going up the drive. Stars hang from the ancient 14th-century pillars and more are screened onto the arch above the chancel. All invite you in to see the live Nativity happening in this Norfolk village.
The stalls and nativity stable are made, the animals watching and waiting. The children begin to arrive, faces shining and outfits ready for their participation in the story of Love coming down at Christmas.
The buzz and chatter of preparation is a backdrop to the sense of anticipation and what some call the magic of Christmas; the sense of the peace of God. At the back of church there is a very large tame rabbit who sits on her table where children are able to stroke her at any time during the evening. The goat and its best friend, the Alpaca look on happily and the sheep press in for attention. Two calves decide to moo loudly at the start of this Live Nativity, causing great laughter as we begin the evening.
The Nativity story being told again, as is has for 2,000 years. Using the narrative of a children’s story, the words and tableau of the coming of God with us captivate the attention of the full church. The animals join in to make it accessible and tangible, brought to life for toddlers through to grandparents.
Mary and Joseph walk to ‘Bethlehem’ leading the donkey while we all sing ‘Little donkey’ then our baby Jesus is laid on straw in the manger; in this moving moment there was an audible intake of breath from all the congregation. Shepherds came and sat on the straw bales in the scene and angels gathered around. We all looked to the high wall of the beautiful church when suddenly stars appeared causing a gasp of surprise before the kings arrived to greet the baby.
We listen, we sing, we stroke the donkey; we smile then finally share together for sausage rolls, mince pies and a drink.
This is Christmas Live Nativity for all in Snettisham St Mary’s. A great night!
Revd Rachel Alexander