TOWNSEND -- As snowflakes began to fall, Townsend Congregational Church Sunday School children and their families braved the cold Saturday evening to tell the story of the birth of Jesus.

About 20 children ages 2 to 14 were involved in the outdoor living-nativity Christmas pageant, led by church member Sarah Goyette.

"I grew up in a similar congregational church and we had this type of pageant," said Goyette. "It was a part of my childhood, and I wanted my kids to be able to have that experience."

Children dressed up as angels, shepherds, the three kings, the innkeeper, the little drummer boy and Mary and Joseph and acted out the Christmas story, with Christmas carols spread throughout.

Goyette said she felt it important to remind children that Christmas is about much more than presents.

"I'm very happy to have the opportunity, with all of the commercialism around Christmas, to just really think about the real reason why we're celebrating it and also just to touch the hearts of these children so that they can feel that as well," she said.

Goyette's son, Trenton, 10, was happy to be the little drummer boy because he loves music and could play an instrument. He said he also plays piano and saxophone.

"I think it's really cool, and I think it's a good way to spread the word around, like the Christmas spirit and stuff like that," Trenton said.

Deanna Capone, 13, was excited to portray Mary in the nativity pageant, because it was such a big part.

"I think it's really good to help our church begin anew," she said.

Live animals were also part of the pageant, including sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, baby bunnies and a Shetland pony provided by Cyndi Cryan of Enchanted Animal Parties in Groton.

"I like going to the churches," Cryan said. "It's really quite special to be able to bring the community together to celebrate what actually Christmas is all about, the birth of Jesus and celebrating why Jesus is here.

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