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LARSON: Churches promote human relativity during Christmas season

Susan Larson

Susan Larson

Someone sent me an email with about 20 pictures of people, mostly kids, with their noses in an iPod or some other hand held device. Most of them were in a public place, surrounded by other people doing the same thing, all of them seemingly oblivious to any other human life around them. Then came the punch line, a quote from Albert Einstein: “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”

But not everywhere. Some people still enjoy human interaction.

This year marks the 50th anniversary for the live Nativity scene on Town Square in Bethlehem in Barrow County. Sponsored by First United Methodist Church of Bethlehem, the story of Jesus is narrated and Christmas carols are sung. Afterwards refreshments are enjoyed in City Hall, which basks in the light of a giant star, installed a few years ago to enhance the ambiance of this little town where all the major streets bear names like Star Street and Manger Avenue.

Coordinator Janice Allen, who appeared as an angel in the original Nativity in 1962, has participated every year since and invites anyone looking for the “real thing” to join them on Dec. 22 and 23 at 7 and 8 p.m. (for info, call:770-307-7546).

At McKendree United Methodist Church In Lawrenceville, the community is invited to participate in a live Nativity on Dec. 15 and 16. Visitors can interact with guards, soldiers, shepherds and wise men under the light of a giant star, created by the late Bill Hubbard, who died in a bicycle accident this past July. They can also enjoy live bagpipe music — which, interestingly enough, originated in the middle east — played by Garrett Hemlick. Afterwards, visitors can chat over coffee or hot chocolate with these Bethlehem figures, including Mary and Joseph, at Fellowship Hall. Call 678-409-3617.

Along with Jennifer Jordan, David Duke co-directs the Christ Church Players at Christ Church Episcopal in Norcross, and they promise that you will encounter angels unaware at what can be best described as a flash mob Nativity experience.

“There will be no separation between performers and audience; we’ll all be huddled around the bonfire together, and no one will know where the story-telling and music will come from. There will be no “audience.” Everyone will be part of the action; folks know instinctively when to join in and sing,” Duke said.

You could be huddled next to Peruvian tenor Aitor Recalde, Appalachian folk singer Diane Lynch soprano, Jennifer Jordan tenor, Greg Jordan or any number of other talented Christ Church Players. The gathering begins at 7:30 p.m. on Dec 23, followed by a hot cider reception in Parish Hall.

I think Einstein would agree that with all the relate-ivity these events provide, that they help bring our humanity back into focus. This accomplished violinist also said, “Life without playing music is inconceivable for me. I get most joy in life out of music.”

I find that genius.

Susan Larson is a writer from Lilburn. Email her at susanlarson79@gmail.com.

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