This year’s live nativity play at Williamsville’s Elderwood nursing home had a cast of about 20 residents playing all the usual parts – from the angels to Mary and Joseph to the innkeeper who turns them away – along with a couple of twists.

When the resident lamb wondered aloud what she should say at the Wednesday performance, the audience replied with the lamb sound, “Baaa!”

And when the man playing Joseph decided to plant a kiss on Mary’s lips, the actress handled the surprise with good humor.

“I gave him my hand and instead he pulled me over and kissed me,” said Ann Palumbo. “All I can tell you is it was my pleasure and honor to be involved in the pageant.”

She was impressed by the effort of her fellow cast members, many in wheelchairs. “It was just beautiful,” she said. “Everybody enjoyed it.”

This was the eighth annual live nativity organized by Deborah Tyler, the chaplain, and Deborah Barten, director of activities.

Practices began last month and included a dress rehearsal.

A good crowd of family members came to watch the performance, which lasted about an hour.

It chronicled the visit of the angel Gabriel, the stable girl who helps the Holy Family settle in, the shepherds who visit the baby Jesus – portrayed by a doll – and the wise men dressed in finery who bring the gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Residents usually delight in being part of the play and tell Barten this is the first time they’ve acted in one.

“They’re just proud,” she said. “Everything comes together. It’s probably the nicest thing we do at Christmas.”