Churches give Christmas story modern themes

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GREENFIELD — Mock news anchor Rod Stark shrugged off a group of children pleading with him to promote a party celebrating the birth of Jesus.

“They’re adorable, cute; naive. Who’s going to go to a 2,000-year-old man’s birthday? Not me!” said the reporter, played by Joel Cookston.

Cookston was practicing at Park Chapel Christian Church Thursday, the only adult actor among dozens of children preparing for Saturday’s presentation of “The Best Christmas Present Ever.”

And with shopping, lights, tinsel and more, Cookston’s question is relevant in today’s society, when many identify Santa Claus as the man of the season more than a baby in a manger.

Houses of worship across Hancock County are celebrating the birth of Jesus this month with concerts and programs, several starting this weekend.

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