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Trinity Episcopal brings the story of Christmas to Shepherdstown

By Staff | Dec 7, 2018

Trinity Episcopal Church's Living Nativity was held the weekend after Thanksgiving and the first weekend in December. Photo by Tabitha Johnston.

SHEPHERDSTOWN — “O Come, Let Us Adore Him,” “Away in a Manger” and “Joy to the World” were some of the Christmas carols that could be heard singing during Trinity Episcopal Church’s 14th Annual Living Nativity on Saturday afternoon.

The Living Nativity, which is held at the church the weekend after Thanksgiving and the first weekend in December, had a few surprises up its sleeve for this year’s attendees, according to coordinator Bob Study.

“This is truly what Christmas is about, and that is something we want to remind folks of, in this time of hustle and bustle and consumerism,” Study said, mentioning he has helped organize the event for four years.

“It’s definitely a group effort. There are 20-or-so people who help with this event every year. We have our die-hards, who we can rely on every year, and we also have a lot of new faces,” Study said.

According to Study, the one change to this year’s program, is casting female parishioners in traditionally male roles.

“This year, we have a lot of wisemen who are wisewomen. And we have a shepherdess, as well,” Study said.

For Alice Wilson, of Martinsburg, playing the role of a wisewoman gave her a front-row opportunity to see a Living Nativity for the first time in her life.

“I haven’t even seen a Living Nativity, but I like the other people doing it, and I thought it would be a great way to participate and see the parade,” Wilson said, referring to the group’s participation in the Shepherdstown Christmas Parade earlier that day. “There’s so much commercialism about Christmas, and this is a nice way to combat that.”

Despite no longer leading the Living Nativity, founder George Alwin remains active in the annual event, portraying a shepherd.

“The focus for Christmas is often drawn to Santa Claus and merchandise in stores. The idea behind the Living Nativity, is to show that the first Christmas was a simple, humble event in a lowly stable,” Alwin said. “This is our small way of trying to keep Christ in Christmas.

“The crowds have grown year after year, and many have come to expect it. When you’re outdoors it’s so rewarding, when you see these children watching with their eyes wide open,” Alwin said. “It’s very time consuming, but even if it only touches one person, it’s worth it.”