NANTICOKE – A beloved holiday tradition at Saint Faustina Kowalska Parish will continue this weekend as the play ‘Miracle at Bethlehem’ returns for a two-night showing.

The play, which depicts the birth, life, and death of Jesus Christ, will be performed on Saturday, Dec. 16, and Sunday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m. at the Saint Faustina Cultural Centre, 38 W. Church Street, Nanticoke. All are welcome to attend. A free will offering will be taken.

“The way the play is performed by the cast, they believe in it, and it draws everyone into the story,” director Judy Minsavage said.

Father Brian Van Fossen, pastor, said the play helps the community relate to Jesus’ birth in a new way, as opposed to simply reading about it in Scripture.

“When you see it actually lived out and you see people actually being part of that story, it really enters you into that story,” Father Van Fossen explained. “Whether you can relate to Joseph and Mary wandering the streets or whoever has a grasp on your imagination and allows you to realize that Jesus was real.”

The presentation of the ‘Miracle at Bethlehem’ involves dozens of cast members and crew who handle lighting, sound and serve as ushers.

“The parish community works so hard at making sure the play is put forward and put forward in such a beautiful way,” Father Van Fossen added.

In years past, the play was performed at the beginning of December, but this year, it is being held closer to Christmas itself to help the audience enter into the true meaning of the holiday.

“Being closer to Christmas this year, I think the hustle and bustle of the Christmas holiday will be at its end and everyone will be ready to get into the real meaning (of the holiday) and how they really want to celebrate the birth of Christ,” Minsavage said.

With Hallmark Christmas movies beginning in the summer and Christmas music on the radio beginning just after Thanksgiving, Father Van Fossen believes the play, so close to Christmas, will help people to recognize the gift God gave to all of us.

“What this play allows us to do is break from that commercialism – to break from television and electronics – and to really ‘smell the hay’ and really allow those moments to really penetrate our lives,” he said.