When Kea Nacolatabua got the chance to be a king, he didn’t hesitate.
“I always loved the three kings when I was little, so it’s cool being one now,” he said.
Better yet, he was playing Belthasar, followed by Caspar and Melchior as they made their way to the Christ child. Occasionally, people wandered up to take a few pictures, say hello and ask questions. Nacolatabua continued pointing the way to the baby, bearing gifts on his journey.
“It’s been neat to be part of this,” he said Sunday night.
The three kings were part of the scenes set up at Crossroads Christian Fellowship to celebrate the Christmas season and the birth of Christ some 2,000 years ago.
Costumed characters played Roman soldiers, shepherds, angels, innkeepers and Joseph and Mary, too. Live animals, including donkeys and sheep, were part of the display. Walls, doors, mangers and camels were part of the props.
There was the traditional nativity scene. There was an angel up high, shepherds cowering below. There were the innkeepers telling Joseph and Mary they had no room for them, and there were soldiers collecting taxes.
Each setting glowed gloriously as car drivers were guided through the exhibit, with songs like “Come Let Us Adore Him” booming out on a starry night.
Bob Hallman, senior pastor of Crossroads Christian Fellowship, said this is their first year for the live nativity scene.
“We had a heart to bless the community,” he said.
Hallman recalled days when light displays seemed more prevalent, but over the years, there don’t seem to be as many.
“We want to kind of reintroduce that back into our community,” he said.
The church off the Kapaa Bypass Road was in a perfect location to provide the night time drive-through on Sunday and Monday night.
Under the big tent, the church offered crafts, games, food, drinks, photos and movies. Hundreds of people stopped by during the two-day event.
Hallman said Crossroads wanted to bring honor to God and at the same time, bring joy to families.
“We want to introduce back that Christmas spirit of putting Christ first,” he said.
Paul LaBlanc, who played Joseph, said it was a blessing to reach out to the community. He was surprised to find himself at center stage.
“I didn’t know I’d be Joseph,” he said, laughing. “I didn’t know I’d get such an important part. I would have been happy just being a guard.”
Chris Suard, who also had the role of Joseph at a different scene, the one where Joseph was turned away at the inn, was joined in the production by three of his children.
“This season means a lot to my family,” he said. “We just wanted to share Jesus with those who are interested in finding out and experiencing his birth.”
It was more than just acting, though.
“You get a sense that this is all real and it touches your heart,” Suard said.
Alex Diego, a Roman soldier, put it simply when asked why he wanted to be part of the holiday program.
“It’s the time of the season to depict the life of Christ and his birth,” he said. “We want to tell the story.”
Likewise for Justin Freemon, a stern Roman soldier.
“We’re here to give glory to the Lord Jesus Christ,” he said. “He’s the reason for everything.”