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The birth of Jesus comes to Stockbridge

By Jaya Franklin

jfranklin@henryherald.com

This evening, when you drive through the city of Stockbridge, things won't be the same.

You could see black and white sheep, horses, a donkey, wise men, Mary, Joseph and even Jesus.

Stockbridge's First United Methodist Church will hold a drive-through live nativity scene for visitors. The play will include nine scenes about the birth of Jesus Christ.

"Sixty to seventy actors will be included in the scenes," said Valerie Holderman, writer and director of the play.

Holderman said the team is using homemade props for the nine scenes.

"Some of the props were already constructed from previous plays, the crew added on to the scenes," she said.

Holderman explained that the crew started [adding on] to the props Monday and finished Thursday.

The nine scenes include a family scene; the marketplace; the manger scene; Mary and Joseph at the inn; Gabriel and Mary; Carolers and more.

In most of the scenes, visitors will be able to drive through the stage settings. They are encouraged to participate in the play toward the end of the production.

"They can pet the animals. [At one point] they'll be able to park their cars and walk through the live scenes," she said.

Holderman and her husband, Mark, the technical director, have been members of the church for 17 years.

"This is a gift to our community," said Holderman. "This is a chance for them to take some time out and remember the reason for the season," she said.

Holderman said the group wanted to do something community-friendly and reach out to youths.

Michael Holderman, 16, of Jonesboro, actor and son of the director, has been a part of the church's plays for about three years.

"It's fun. [Especially] once you get down to it and get into costume," said Michael, who has played a wise man and Gabriel.

The Stockbridge First United Methodist Church will hold the drive-thru nativity on Saturday, Dec. 22, from 7 p.m., to 9 p.m. The church is located at 4863 North Henry Boulevard. For more information, call (770) 474-4111.

The church's drama ministry also presents a Easter Sunday play called "The Way."

Holderman said the play is about a lady who is in a huge production on Easter Sunday, but her boss says that she has to work or she will get fired. Angels come and visit the boss to remind him what Easter Sunday is all about.