Nativity comes to life in Alpine

The Star of Bethlehem shines brightly over last year’s Live Nativity pageant at Kokernot Park in Alpine. 

For over a quarter of a century, Alpine’s Live Nativity has been one of the most cherished traditions for families, and has spanned generations. Amid the hustle and bustle of the season, sometimes the real meaning of Christmas can be overlooked, but the Live Nativity serves as a reminder of the special event that happened millennia ago in a modest stable in Bethlehem.

A favorite Christmas tradition has been to participate in the Live Nativity, which features the story of the birth of Jesus. Children from 3-4 years old to adults in their 70s have been part of the tradition, as they dress as shepherds, angels, the Wise Men, and Mary and Joseph.

“In the last few years, we have had young adults come with their young children, and the young adults were in the Nativity as children,” noted Karen McGuire of Michael’s Mountain Ministry. This is a year when camels from Doug Baum’s Texas Camel Corps of Valley Mills will make their special appearance. Baum tours with his camels all over the state, and has visited Big Bend Ranch State Park, Prude Ranch in Fort Davis, and Fort Davis National Historic Site.

The Live Nativity has been sponsored by Michael’s Mountain Ministry, which was started by McGuire 32 years ago after the death of her oldest son in 1991.

Said McGuire, “We had been involved in youth rallies in the past, and we decided to have a ministry to reach out to young people, to make people realize there is more than one answer to life’s problems. We had youth rallies, and I also wrote a pamphlet about suicide awareness that was distributed to college campuses.”

McGuire said the Live Nativity welcomes people from all walks of life and from all denominations, as Michael’s Mountain Ministry is not affiliated with any church.

This year will be donkey Chewbacca’s 10th anniversary with the Live Nativity. Thirty-year-old Chewbacca is owned by Scott and Heidi Wassermann of Wassermann Wranch. Burt Compton of Marfa will bring his large gong, which adds a welcome sound for the rendition of Herod’s Palace at Jerusalem.

The Live Nativity will take place Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, Dec. 20-22, at 7 p.m. at the stable between Kokernot Outdoor Theatre and Kokernot Lodge in Alpine. Cookies, hot chocolate, and coffee will be provided.

Because of coronavirus concerns, facemasks are required, and hand sanitizers will be provided. McGuire called the Live Nativity a “Christmas card to the area,” and added, “I have always said that a nativity takes on a life of its own. It’s always the same, yet different. There will be people who have been there for a long time. Sometimes we see them only once a year, and their desire to be in it is always special.”

For more information, call McGuire at 432-386-3071.

McGuire noted that neither the Texas State University System nor Sul Ross State University sponsor or endorse the Live Nativity.

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