Telling the Christmas story

Gary Moskowitz

Lilith Garibyan loves getting presents at Christmas- time, but she

also looks forward to hearing the religious story behind the holiday

every year.


Lilith, a fourth-grader at Emerson Elementary School in Burbank,

was one of about 45 children from Burbank and Glendale who performed

Saturday during a Christmas celebration at the Armenian Church

Western Diocese in Burbank.


More than 800 people, including Armenian American children from

public and private schools in Burbank and Glendale and their

families, attended the event. The Armenian observation of Christmas

is Jan. 6.

“I like hearing the story of Jesus,” said Lilith, 9. “If you don’t

know it, you can tell the story of what happened. But I also like

Christmas because I like being with family and you get to eat and



The church stage was decorated as a manger scene, and many student

performers dressed in angel costumes for the performance.

Students sang Christmas hymns such as “Silent Night,” “Angels We

Have Heard on High” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”

“I like this time of year,” said Sosi Bournazian, a fifth-grader

at Columbus Elementary School in Glendale. “You remember how Christ

was born, and it’s your religion, so you should know it. It’s also a

time to share, and everyone’s happy and families get together to have


a good time.”

All Christians, at Christmas time, should think of themselves as

agents of change, said Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, primate of the


“We should all listen to the messages of the Lord, and recognize

that we can be instruments of change, love and also miracles,”

Derderian said. “Today, we are giving children the spirit that they

can live with God and follow his messages, to live a Christ-like