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German-American Club play will tell story of Christ's birth

The book of Luke, one of the three Synoptic Gospels, tells the story of Jesus' birth, an event that fourth century Christians decided to celebrate on Dec. 25.

Seventeen centuries later, the celebration continues.

The German-American Club will retell the tale of Christ's birth  originally written in Greek  in two different tongues, German and English, during the annual German Service and Christmas Nativity Play at 7 p.m. Friday.

The club has been presenting the free play for the Lawton Fort Sill community for about 45 years, and the purpose is to illuminate Christ as the heart of Christmas, according to Rose Lepien, who doubles as director of the play and the Angel Gabriel, a role she has performed for 40 years.

This year's German Service and Christmas Nativity Play will include a message of love, joy and peace from the Rev. Tony Hansley of Lawton First Assembly, instrumental music from the 77th Army Band, vocals from a choir of German ladies and assistance from the German Allied Officer Division to prepare refreshments for guests.

Lepien said the play will take place in the middle of Hansley's sermon, in which he'll alternate between German and English as he speaks. The cast of the play consists of 11 angels, three kings, four shepherds, Mary and Joseph, a narrator and a doll as Baby Jesus.

Tom Grier, the pianoist, will accompany the choir of German ladies as they sing Christmas carols such as "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming" in German throughout the play, and German-speaking audience members are welcome to sing along.

Lepien said her favorite scene in the play is when Jesus is born. 

"All the angels are down on their knees around the manger, and they sing 'Silent Night,'" she said. "It's a very holy moment."

Following the play, everyone is invited to stay for German treats, hot wine, cider and fellowship.

"There will be German cookies and gingerbread cookies and homemade goodies (like) Christstollen, which is a very special German Christmas cake," Lepien said. "It's like a fruit cake but with a whole lot more cake than fruit. There's lot of powdered sugar on it."

Lepien believes that people who watch the play may gain a deeper appreciation for the diversity of the United States and the versatility of Americans.

The Lawton Constitution

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