Photos by Steve Shay
Highline Christian Church, 14859 1st Ave S, Burien, has constructed the “Little Town of Bethlehem” in the church parking. The annual Outdoor Living Nativity presentation is open to the public with 20 minute shows tonight (Saturday) at: 6:30pm, 7pm, 7:30pm, 8pm. Free cocoa is served, and plenty of live llamas & other animals are on hand for kids to pet between shows. CLICK ON PHOTO FOR SLIDESHOW, or CLICK ON A PHOTO FROM GALLERY BELOW.

SLIDESHOW: Live Outdoor Nativity returns tonight to Highline Christian Church, Burien

SLIDESHOW: Click on photo for more, or click on photo from gallery below

Since 1994 Highline Christian Church, 14859 1st Ave S, Burien, has constructed the “Little Town of Bethlehem” in the church parking lot each December as part of our annual Outdoor Living Nativity presentation as their "Christmas gift to the community". The public is welcome, at no charge. Shows tonight (Saturday) are: 6:30pm, 7pm, 7:30pm, 8pm.

Each live 20-minute performance includes music, narrative, cast and a menagerie of live animals including real llamas, sheep and a donkey "set to transport you back 2000 years".  The church invites you to "Bring the family, have a cup of hot cocoa (supplied for free) and enjoy the show!"

Children can pet some of the animals while Mom and Dad snap photos between the performances.

In keeping with the presentation's tradition, the Magi, or the Three Wise Men, have been portrayed for about seven years by Ken Beagle and Don Berg of Burien, and David Loboguerrero of Federal Way. Each walks a regal, live llama past the audience, toward the manger, where Mary and Joseph sit, cradling the Baby Jesus, a real infant. The Magi present the Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.

"We call ourselves 'the wise guys,'" Berg told the Highline Times, with a grin. "I'm not sure llamas were mentioned in the Bible story, but camels are hard to come by these days."

The llamas, also regulars in the annual production, belong to a stable of 14 on Larry and Linda Nolan's five-acre Kent farm. The Bethlehem donkey, the three week-old calf, and goat from the Bartelheimer Farm in Snohomish. Bethlehem donkeys actually have a black stripe down their backs and another across their shoulders, creating a cross, fitting for the season.

"Darby, our donkey here, has a cross on her back and shoulders," said Becca, who's parents own the farm. "Legend says the cross comes from when Mary rode her with Jesus."

Julissa Sanchez portrays Mary, and her real life husband, Alecxis Fernandez is Joseph. They met six years ago at a quinceañera, a Spanish or Mexican coming of age ritual for 15 year-old girls. They have been married nearly five years and attend the church. They have a four year-old son, but his name isn't Jesus. It's Franco.

"This is awesome," enthused Julissa between shows. "I was very excited how many people have shown up, and I love riding the donkey."

Three babies portray Jesus during the different shows. Their parents belong to the church.

Highline Christian Church Senior Pastor, Tim Knight, set a respectful, albeit bittersweet tone when he introduced the show. He referred to the tragic shootings Friday morning in the Connecticut grade school.

"This morning we woke up to the tragic news," he began. "Id like for us to take a moment and have a prayer for the families who lost loved ones in the tragedy.

"Bad news travels fast but there is good news today," he said. "There is good news of a God who loves us and will be with us in the brokenness of this world."

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