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Christmas Alive: Young cast brings life to story

"Angel" Annie Stanley (left) joins her cast mates "Joseph" Jack Frame, "Mary" Kate Walker Williams, "Angel" Amelia Sexton, "Angel" Emily Frame and "Baby Jesus" Olivia Butler (age two months) for a dress rehearsal for the upcoming walk through Christmas experiences "Christmas Alive."

Staff photo by L.A. Story

For one disorienting second, time was out of synch.

Children ran around the front lawn of First Presbyterian Church dressed in robes and headdresses suited to the Biblical era.

After a moment, one notices a pair of sneakers beneath the robes and the sense of time is restored.

The children were in costume for a Wednesday dress rehearsal of First Presbyterian Church's presentation of Christmas Alive a walk through Christmas experience this Friday and Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m. nightly.

The event is free to the public and attendees are asked to park at the former Sportsplex. They will be bussed to the Christmas Alive location from there.

The walk through experience consists of six scenes and takes about 18 minutes from beginning to end. At the end there's hot chocolate and/or coffee.

Kimberly and Brett Grantham, co-directors of intergenerational ministries at First Presbyterian, invite and welcome everyone to come and enjoy the experience which is meant to transport attendees all the way back Bethlehem to the original Christmas story the birth of Jesus Christ.

From the costumes to the elaborately constructed scenes, the production takes a lot of volunteers.

Christmas Alive is only performed for a couple of days every other year. It will take a cast of approximately 115 children, 30 animals and over 100 volunteers to bring the large scale event to life, but it's a labor a love that is all about love, according to Kimberly Grantham.

Wednesday night, the children expressed excitement for their upcoming performances and they showed enthusiasm for bringing their characters to life for the visitors.

Many of the children provided similar sentiments about what they loved best about their upcoming performances.

"I love getting in the scenes," said Kate Walker Williams.

"I love wearing the costumes," said Kate Frame.

"I love performing in front of other people," said Jack Frame.

Six-year-old Emily Frame said, "I like this because it's fun to perform in front of people and we get to invite people to come."

The children agreed they did not find it a hardship to do the work to prepare for the event.

"It wasn't hard (to get ready)," said Jack Frame. "It's not hard for us because we didn't have to put it all together."

Kimberly Grantham said putting the production together brings their church family closer. There is a lot work, building, painting, organizing and rehearsals but the point of the project is always at the forefront of their minds to strip away the commercialization and place more importance on who the holiday is about.

Perhaps, the reason for Christmas Alive is best stated by one young cast member.

"My favorite thing about being in Christmas Alive is that I love celebrating the birth of Jesus," said Amelia Sexton.

(First Presbyterian Church is located at 919 E. Shiloh Road in Corinth.)