Fort Worth church keeps it simple for Christmas

FORT WORTH -- For the most part, the Christmas pageant at Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church followed tradition.

Except that Mary, Joseph and Jesus were visited by five kings, not three.

"There were some that wanted to be kings, not shepherds," said Shari Stahl of Granbury, the pageant's coordinator. "It's about the kids."

The Christmas Eve Children's Nativity Pageant was only the second at the church, formed in 2008 and now meeting in the clubhouse at the Lockheed Martin Recreation Area. After the 15-minute play, the congregation gathered for a family Christmas Eve service.

It was one of many churches across the region that conducted special Christmas Eve services with candlelight, choral music and Holy Communion to celebrate the birth of Christ.

At Christ the Redeemer, the pageant is a chance for families to get to know one another and celebrate Christmas.

All youngsters who want to participate can, organizers said.

The pageant is informal. No rehearsals were held.

Costumes, some borrowed from another church, were simple; the child playing Mary was draped with blue cloth with a gold headband. Jesus was a baby doll wrapped in burlap fabric. A toddler playing a lamb wore a hooded poncho crafted from fleece.

"We could do perfect," said Margie Culpepper, wife of the Rev. Christopher Culpepper, the church priest. "But that's not the original story of Jesus. He didn't do a perfect Bass Hall entrance. He was in a manger. So we intentionally said we are going to keep it low key and accessible for all."

Jessamy Brown, 817-390-7326