You never know what might happen at Christmas in the Barn, the live Christmas pageant that Faith, North Windham, Maine, has presented for more than a decade.

Sometimes a chicken flies up and joins the angels on stage. The donkey may decide that it wants to join in with the Christmas carols and bray. A llama may do what llamas do and spit. And no one is sure if the baby will sleep through the event or wake up and cry.

“You never know,” said Jocelia Hartwell, the parishioner at whose barn in Gorham, Maine, the pageant is staged.

The realism adds meaning to the story, according to Hartwell and Pr. David Thorp. “It gives a sense of the humility of the season,” added the pastor. “It’s not all the glitz in all of the stores. Seeing the story of the inn at Bethlehem is a reminder that sometimes we have ‘no room at the inn’ for the spiritual side of Christmas. We fill ourselves with so much of the trappings of the season that there’s no room in our hearts.”

Seeing the farm animals also allows people “to get back in touch with our food sources and what goes into caring for these animals,” said Pr. Thorp. Among the animals are llamas, which play the part of camels because they are in the same family, as well as goats, cows, horses and a miniature donkey. Hay bales are piled on top of each other to provide seating for the audience and to create a rustic atmosphere.

The free pageant draws about 125 visitors, some from other churches, and some who don’t attend a church. The audience joins the cast in singing Christmas hymns and carols.

Pr. Thorp said that the opportunity to sing is unique because as a community “we’ve sort of lost our song.” Christmas in the Barn, he said, “is about building relationships.

Excerpted from Lakes Neighbors: All join in for Nativity in the barn, Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram, Dec. 20, 2007, staff writer Tess Nacelewicz


An Angel plays her violin...  

In come the Shepherds...

The Hartwell Farm

Jocelia & Karl Hartwell
Jo: 207-671-2189
19 N. Gorham Rd
Gorham, ME 04038
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