ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ - The children of the First Presbyterian Church will stage their annual Christmas pageant during the 10 a.m. worship service Sunday.

The play is entitled "The First Christmas," the story of the famous events set in a Bethlehem stable. It is narrated by the younger children in the church's Sunday School program and will include condensed versions of the Christmas songs "The First Noel," "Hallelujah," "O Little Town of Bethlehem," "Away in a Manger," "What Child is This," "Silent Night" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."

The program is directed by Jennifer Schnoor and Cheryl Spears with assistance from musical director David Nunez.

Columnist Michael Riley, an ordained minister and regular guest preacher, will lead the service marking the fourth Sunday of Advent with a sermon entitled "Magi and Shepherds," which is about how the birth of Jesus Christ brings people together.

The Advent candle will be lighted by the Schoor family.

Riley also will conduct the church's annual Christmas Eve candlelight service at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 24, lighting the final Advent candle with his family. Riley will also preach at the 10 a.m. service Sunday Dec. 26, the day after Christmas.

The Rev. Barbara MacFie will be in the pulpit and serve Communion on Sunday, Jan. 2.

Riley, a South Amboy resident, is an ordained Baptist minister with over 20 years of pastoral experience.

He is a staff writer, editorial writer and columnist for the Asbury Park Press. His weekly column, "Only Human," appears Friday.

All area residents and visitors are invited to worship at the 120-year-old handicapped accessible church at the corner of Third and E. Highland Aves. A new municipal parking lot is available next to the Christian Education Building at 17 E. Highland Ave.

Child care for four-year-olds and younger is provided during the regular 10 a.m. Sunday worship service.