I think I started a new family tradition at this year's Miracle of Christmas pageant, a live nativity held outside Brad and Tammy Hunt's home in West Haven.

Joseph and Mary journey to Bethlehem (Luke 2:4)

Regulars showed up early, unpacking camping chairs and situating themselves where they thought they could get the best angles. Towering poles sported outdoor lighting with wheels at the base for easy movement. Wooden bleachers, reminiscent of my days in choir were covered with blankets as families took their places for the show staying warm in knit hats and scarves and sipping mugs of hot chocolate.

Before the pageant started, Tammy mentioned this year's little miracle. On opening night (Wednesday), it looked like it was going to be rained out...and SLmag got the call not to come up, because it was cancelled. Not ready to give up, the family prayed that the rain would let up enough for families to gather and watch the 20-minute show. Just half an hour before show time, the rain let up, and they were able to perform the pageant.

More than 300 people came to the first showing of Thursday night's pageant. I came with two seasoned attendees who directed my attention to the newest additions on the set. Music engulfed us as a narrator read from the King James Bible, the perfect setting for the pageant. Kids scooted forward as Joseph led a live donkey carrying Mary. The crowd was reverent with anticipation as Jesus was born. Gabriel, with his arms open wide, stood steady in the wind and gave a very powerful performance as he told the shepherds the glorious news.

You may know the story, but it's something else to see it live, with real animals and people living the characters.

See you there tonight at the final night. Arrive a little early to park and get good seats.

Miracle of Christmas pageant 6:30, 7, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 22- 243161 S. 2850 West, West Haven Call 801-731-4819 or e-mail miracleofchristmas@hotmail.com Click here for our article on the actors who play Mary and Joseph.

Here are our photos from the performance on Dec. 23:

"But Mary kept these things and pondered them in her heart." (Luke 2:19)

Families celebrate the live story of Christmas in West Haven, an annual tradition

Roman soldiers oversee the decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (Luke 2:1)

Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem. (Matt 2:1-12)

Shepherds. (Luke 2:8-12)

Two of the Three Wise Men or Three Kings. (Matt 2:1-12)

Multitude of angels singing "Glory to God in the highest." (Luke 2:14)

The angel Gabriel arrives on the scene.