The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


December 15, 2012

Telling an age-old story

MIDDLEBURG — For 11 years Karl and Tanya Hertzler have been telling the story of Christmas.

They tell it on a few acres of farm land with 40 of their friends and neighbors helping along the way.

They tell it no matter the weather, with bus loads of eager watchers and a few carriages of people, too.

And they tell it unashamedly.

The Middlecreek Farms Live Nativity has been taking place every Saturday so far this month, concluding with a performance tonight, Dec. 15.

“My husband Karl had the idea. He really started the whole thing,” Tanya insisted.

Karl disagrees.

“We’re both involved. It takes 40 people to make this run. We have a core group of people who are with us the entire time.”

The farm is broken into sections, or scenes in which actors portray the story told in the Gospels of the Bible that chronicles Christ’s birth and the journey to Bethlehem of Mary and Joseph. The tiny town of Bethlehem comes alive as individuals are clothed in Biblical attire. Live animals and the smell of cool night air and hay make for a realistic experience. The prophet Isaiah, who proclaimed the birth of the Savior in the Old Testament, is the guide for the evening.

The clothing wasn’t always so realistic, Tanya jokes, and the program has come a long way in 11 years.

“We had used football helmets for the Roman guards,” Tanya said with a chuckle. Today they have costumes that have been ordered and fitted for the individual actors. An Amish woman from Mt. Pleasant Mills has been instrumental in making the clothing realistic as well, Tanya noted.

“We’ve really evolved,” Tanya said, noting the program has additional space and extra scenes. This year, they moved the sign-in area so that they were able to use the space for one more scene.

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