HERSEY — Christmas came to life on Friday as members of Hersey's United Methodist Church performed the holiday story in front of visitors and residents.

This is the church's sixth year hosting the live nativity and event coordinators David Johnson and Jennifer Taylor are happy to keep seeing a large turnout.

"I think the nativity was wonderful," Taylor said. "It was really special to see the community come out, participate, join in the fellowship and understand the true meaning of Christmas."

Apart from human volunteers, local residents brought in live animals to help set the scene.

"It always seems when the animals come and they first get here, you're worried about if they're going to slow down when it's time to perform," Johnson said. "But they always do. There's something magical that takes place and the animals always relax, the actors relax and the kids make it special, too."

Olivia Lawson and Tyler White played the parts of Mary and Joseph. The pair sat huddled under a stable made of hay, complete with a donkey and horse while they held a baby Jesus. Although they were a bit chilly after the event ended, both were happy to take part.

"It's fun knowing what Christmas is really about," said Lawson.

White agreed.

"It's great seeing all of the people come out," he said.

Throughout the nativity, Biblical passages were read while child, teen and adult actors took their places on the church's front lawn, set up like the stable and manger scene. Children as shepherds guided live sheep, angels told of the good news and three wise men took their place at the foot of Mary and Joseph with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Carols played between readings, sung by attendees.

"The real goal is to praise Jesus Christ," Taylor said. "He's our savior and we realize it's not just about Jesus, it's about us. God sent Jesus here for us. If all of us could figure that out throughout the whole Christmas season, we'd be much happier."