There’s a cure for the anxiety of the season – the hectic shopping, messy baking and the rush, rush, rush to get everything finished by Christmas Eve. And it’s so obvious. There is nothing so calming for the faithful than spending a quiet moment – perhaps your child’s hand in yours – and gazing upon the Nativity scene. It all comes down to the newborn baby, the humble surroundings and the sheer wonder of the event. “It’s quite moving for very many people. It brings a realism of what happened. That is a special time, a special moment,” said Brian Morehead, missions director for Church at Rocky Peak in Chatsworth, which closes its 12th “Back to Bethlehem” live pageant tonight. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan ClarksonThe single most enduring and endearing symbol of Christmastime is the Nativity scene, whether performed live or created from materials ranging from delicate porcelain to brittle plastic. It so simply puts the Christ back in Christmas, even for the less-than-enthusiastic believer. In Manhattan Beach earlier this month, about 8,500 people witnessed Journey of Faith Church’s extravagant Bethlehem production, a 40,000-square-foot re-creation of the city where Christ was born. More than 170 amateur actors participated in the production, portraying the Biblical events of 2,000 years ago. “The thing we really find special is that it’s a gift to our community, there’s not even a donation box at the end,” church spokesman Jon Crowe said. “We literally want people to come have a great time with their families – a great Christmas memory – and find out the real reason for Christmas. “People for the most part are blown away seeing the entire scene played out before their eyes.” Mary and Joseph ride in on a donkey, she suffering through labor pains as he begs the innkeeper for a place to stay. “People are literally following them into the stable where the baby is born and in Mary’s hands,” Crowe said. “They’re coming out crying. Little kids are drawing pictures and leaving them for Jesus. People leave flowers, all sorts of little tokens.” At a similar pageant in Santa Clarita, Bruce Walker played one of three wise men at “Follow the Star to Bethlehem,” a live drive- through pageant portraying Christ’s life that’s held each year at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. The Nativity scene is unquestionably a favorite. “It’s so spiritually fulfilling,” Walker said. “It’s what Christmas and Christian life are all about. These were real-life people.” Fifteen-year-old AJ Ehrle played Joseph, father of the Christ child. “I feel really honored to re-enact something that’s such an amazing thing that really happened,” Ehrle said. “What you feel … wow!” added angel Kailey Letz, 11. Bill Fox, another of the wise men, and wife Linda have been involved in the pageant since the first staging 14 years ago. Linda also owns 200 Nativity sets and keeps two dozen or so about the house year-round. Among her treasures is a creche from the Caribbean, made of egg shells. Another, from Eastern Europe, is made of red yarn. She finds them on her travels and her friends do the same, bringing her creches from all over the world. “I see them and can’t resist,” Linda Fox said. “For one thing Jesus is the main reason for Christmas and people tend to forget that. As a Christian, I want to emphasize that. I kind of do it quietly with my decorations.” At Rocky Peak, spectators walk the streets of Bethlehem and interact with some of the 240 volunteers portraying everything from the town craftsmen to the Roman soldiers. There are dancers, shepherds and the angel who announces the holy birth. And then a few visitors at a time leave the bustling town scene and visit the stable, talking with the actors portraying Mary and Joseph, and viewing the live baby in the role of Jesus. “A lot of people are moved by the baby and by Mary and Joseph telling their story,” Morehead said. “It’s very quiet. You’re seeing Jesus. That’s the special moment. That’s the Nativity.” The Church of Rocky Peak will present “Bethlehem” at 7 tonight at 22601 Santa Susana Pass Road, Chatsworth. [email protected] 661 257-5251160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!