This time of year, churches wage a constant campaign to remind believers of the “reason for the season.” Staff and members of one local church, Heritage Baptist on Forest Drive, re-tooled their popular holiday nativity event this year in an effort to keep it real.
Heritage’s revamped living nativity, set for this Friday, December 21, from 7-9 pm, will utilize tableau panels from previous nativity events with a new twist. Visitors will be greeted by a Roman centurion as they enter the church grounds and directed to a series of six stations portraying the story of Jesus’ birth using volunteer actors, hands-on activities and live animals.
“We want to connect the Nativity as a real life experience for all ages,” said Rev. Skye Hallman, Minister of Discipleship & Youth. “This is new for us this year. We hope the hands-on aspect will be an effective way to tell the story of Christ’s birth.”
The journey begins with an expectant Mary handing our blue ribbons and recounting her visit from an angel. As they move along, visitors will encounter the Inn Keeper from Bethlehem, Shepherds & sheep, Angels of the Heavenly Host, Wise Men from the East, and finally the well-known manger scene with Mary, Joseph, the Christ Child and live animals.
The interactive component is woven into every scene. For example, as shepherds tell of their visit from the heavenly host, they will hand out cotton balls (representing sheep) and invite visitors to pet live sheep. Another station offers lessons on swaddling, just as the Bible said the baby Jesus was wrapped. At yet another, a host of angels will hand out glow sticks and tell the news of the Christ Child’s birth.
The journey will conclude in the church’s fellowship hall where volunteers will offer free hot cocoa and cookies. There is also a children’s dress-up station where young ones can don angel wings or shepherd robes and pose for pictures.
“Our nativity is one of the most popular community activities we have here,” said Rev. Henry Green, pastor at Heritage. “This season, we invite folks to reconnect with their faith as we share God’s love and serve others.”
The interactive nativity at Heritage Baptist will be held on the church grounds at 1740 Forest Drive in Annapolis, on Friday, December 21 from 7-9 pm. Admission is free and open to everyone. Complimentary refreshments will be available. For more information, see www.heritagebaptistonline.com or call 410.263.6680.