Press Photos by Tim GilmanThe Chancel Choir of the Bethany United Church of Christ accompanies the Live Bethlehem Christmas Pageant’s biblical and historical birth of Christ re-enactment performance Dec. 10.
Townspeople in the Live Bethlehem Christmas Pageant wear colorful outfits with long sleeves and gloves for the cold weather.
Bundled up for the cold are Brooke Alpha, of Fountain Hill and her daughter Amelia, wearing a knitted Christmas hat. Brooke Alpha said it was their first time attending the holiday event in northwest Bethlehem.
Donald Jenny, of Bethlehem, as King Caspar, is accompanied by a camel from the Natural Bridge Zoo in Virginia and a pair of guards.
Brock Williams, of Center Valley, as King Balthazar, holds the newborn Christ Child, wrapped in warm swaddling clothes. Baby Jesus is Riley Bankos, son of Lindsey Viscomi, of Lehighton, who plays Mary. A popular tradition of the pageant is to have one of the Wise Men take the Christ child from the stable area closer to the event attendees for a better look at the baby.
Shepherds with children and animals gather as narrator William Schellhaas, of Coopersburg, reads the Christmas story.
‘O Come Let Us Adore Him’
The Live Bethlehem Christmas Pageant, a re-enactment of historical and Biblical events surrounding the birth of Christ, held its 39th annual performance Dec. 9 and 10 at the Rose Garden Park band shell in northwest Bethlehem. The Lehigh Valley’s first snowfall on Dec. 9 reduced the pageant’s attendance to 100 spectators, but higher temperatures and some sunshine attracted more than 300 persons to the event the next afternoon, according to pageant officials. A cast of some 100 costumed participants, live animals and musical accompaniment makes the admission-free event a family-oriented attraction. David Landis, president of the Live Bethlehem Christmas Pageant for 14 years, said he is “looking forward” to next year’s 40th anniversary. According to Landis, the pageant originated on Christmas Eve in 1978 at our Lady of Pompeii Church in South Bethlehem. “The event’s purpose is to commemorate Jesus’ birthday in a most real way,” said the Bethlehem resident.