The pageant embodied the spirituality of Christmas, and for those involved, the spirit of kinship also underscored the holiday's message.

When the Youth Group at St. John Catholic Church performed its annual Living Nativity Pageant last Friday, the 20 or so teenage participants found it not only an opportunity to re-create the Biblical account of the Nativity, but share camaraderie. The effort showed younger parishioners what a positive, creative group of teens can achieve.

"I personally like setting an example for the younger kids," said Christina Boccadoro, a Darien High School senior who portrayed the role of Elizabeth. "And I like showing the birth of Christ because it's an important topic."

Accompanied by a small choir of teens, the actors enacted the key roles in the Nativity as the story was read by a narrator.

"This has been a tradition for about 10 years and it's a great community project," said Laura Reid, interim Youth Group director.

She said the gentle Nativity story affords people the opportunity to slow down and appreciate the meaning of Christmas, "to really take some time to sit and focus on what the season is really about."

"I like the music and emotion of the show," said Kimberly Hibben, 16.

"It's a lot of fun just spending extra time with the people here at the Youth Group," said Brandon Golino, 16, "because we're a very close group. It's a lot of fun spending time with people you're close with."

"I love the fact that their faith brings them together," said parent Karen Boccadoro of Darien. "It's great for them to have time together and not have the peer pressure you can have in this town, and just have a good, wholesome place to be."

"They're good role models for the younger children," said parent Lorraine Golino, because they see teenagers doing something that's a little different than the norm. "I think that's nice."

"I just love the kind of season of unity we have," said Rebecca Dwango, 17. "We're all working together to put on our production to represent our faith and I think that's really great."