Article submitted by Karen Lake.
One might wonder what it was really like for Mary to have a baby in a Bethlehem manger. I don’t think it was as pretty as most of us like to imagine.
Almost 5,000 traveled to Rancho Santa Margarita to see just that. They wanted to see the living recreation of the events leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ. The pageant includes live actors including a real baby, live animals, and even a flying angel.
Follow the Star, a Living Nativity pageant sponsored by the Santa Margarita stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, celebrated its 15th year with clear skies and record crowds.
With the show being 20 minutes it is quite popular with the children.
“My favorite part of assisting with Follow the Star is to watch the excitement and anticipation on the faces of the children," said Jeffrey Shields, director of public affairs for the Santa Margarita stake. "And then to follow with a cup of hot chocolate afterwards and getting to pet the donkey makes it better yet!”
Lori George, lead greeter and host, said, “People seemed to want to talk when they entered. I heard comments like, ‘Thank you so much for doing this,’ or ‘I enjoy coming every year.’ The number one comment this year was, ‘I’m so delighted that the crèches are back!’”
The crèche exhibit was inside the church and displayed more than 300 nativity sets depicting Mary and Joseph in the manger from all around the world.
Children’s hands were kept busy with a scavenger hunt to find certain crèche displays within the exotic presentation.
Brian Andre, founder and Artistic Director of the pageant said, “Follow the Star is an effort to keep Christ in Christmas, to help our children and grandchildren never forget that it is because of the birth of a baby that we have Christmas at all.”