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O Little Town of Burbank

December 08, 2010|By David Laurell
(David Laurell )

More than 7,600 miles and 2,000 years separate modern-day Burbank from Bethlehem of Judea during the rule of King Herod. That time and distance seemingly evaporated as guests to the First Presbyterian Church of Burbank were transported halfway around the globe and back in time as the Olive Avenue church presented their fifth annual Bethlehem village and live nativity show this past weekend.

Produced by Kathy Purdy and under the direction of Alex Wysocki, the church's staff and parishioners welcomed community members to their parking lot that had been magically transformed into the little hamlet that served as the birthplace of Jesus.

As guests arrived, they were given coins they could exchange for goods in the village. They were also welcomed to taste various foods from the time of Christ's birth, and have their photos taken with shepherds and their sheep, donkey and goats, Roman soldiers, wise magi and a heavenly host of angels.


The highlight of the two-evening event was a live performance of the Christmas story as relayed in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

"The intent [is] to remind everyone of the birth of Jesus Christ," said the church's senior pastor, Ross Purdy, who went on to relate an interesting story of the Christmas pageant's star.

"The church has used a real newborn to play the part of baby Jesus for the past years, but we had trouble casting this part this year," Purdy said.

Then, Hepzibeth Pardo, one of the helpers of the event, made a call to a wrong number. It turned out that the person who answered the phone had a newborn son and was willing to have him cast as Jesus, Purdy added.

Coming all the way from Lake Arrowhead, Danny Meisenbach Jr. played the role of the newborn king with aplomb.

"This wrong number incident provided some excitement that God found an actor to play Jesus when the church could not find anyone to do the part," Purdy said.

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