With a cast of actors and volunteers exceeding 150, an array of live animals including a camel and a passion for animating the story of Jesus’ birth, Georgetown Baptist Church of Pottsboro will present its fifth annual production of “Nativity Live” Dec. 6-8 and Dec. 13-15.
Beginning at 6 p.m. each evening, the church will offer six opportunities for visitors to travel with Mary and Joseph from the inn to the manager. Each 20-minute journey will immerse visitors in a host of sights and sounds in a Biblical setting designed to provide them with a memorable your-were-there experience.
“The story of Christmas is the most amazing story ever shared with the world,” Georgetown Baptist Church Pastor Bobby Hancock said in a written statement. “Christmas is the reality that God took on human flesh in the form of a baby. That baby grew to be a man who was sinless and perfect in every way. His name is Jesus and he came to save the whole world from the death penalty of sin.”
Church member and “Nativity Live” public relations coordinator, Asa Jessee, explained the three-step process in an email.
“After arriving at Georgetown, you will check in with the ‘Bethlehem census takers’ who will direct you to the city market area where you will have the opportunity to see life as it might have been in first century Bethlehem,” Jessee said. “There you will find a blacksmith, candle makers, basket weavers and much more.”
He then described the second phase designed to put guests directly in touch with the narrative of Jesus’ birth.
“Your journey will begin as you proceed to the ‘Bethlehem Inn’ and sense the emotions of that first Christmas night when Mary and Joseph were desperate to find lodging, to no avail,” Jessee said. “As you follow the tired couple to the manger, you will encounter various players in the Christmas story, namely Herod, the shepherds and wise men, and of course baby Jesus. Finally, a beautiful angel rises above the stable and sings, ‘O Holy Night.’”
He then pointed to the third component of the presentation which brings meaningful closure to the guests’ journey.
“After your outdoor experience, you will be escorted by Bethlehem guides to the chapel where you will enjoy a short Christmas drama,” Jessee said. “It is a beautiful experience of worship that brings the true meaning of Christmas to life.”
Jessee wrote that “Nativity Live” began five years ago as a part of the church’s community outreach, after several years of thought and planning.
“Pastor Bobby Hancock charged then Worship Minister Chris Lovejoy with the task of creating ideas of what our Christmas community outreach would look like,” Jesse said. “They traveled to visit other churches and observe their presentations. From there, a great deal of the ‘Nativity Live’ design and plan was created by Chris.”
He added that Lovejoy’s vision will take on added meaning for the church with this year’s presentation and those to follow.
“Mr. Lovejoy passed away unexpectedly this past October,” Jessee said. “In a unanimous decision, cast, crew and volunteers opted to dedicate and memorialize all future presentations of ‘Nativity Live’ to Chris in recognition of his love and dedication to this project.”
Jesse added that Lovejoy’s legacy, coupled with the sustaining efforts of volunteers have enthralled and inspired over 4,000 guests.
“The common theme of our guests’ comments indicate that ‘Nativity Live’ helps accentuate the true reason for the season. It is the Bible coming to life right before their eyes,” Jesse said. “One parent commented a few years ago, ‘It has changed the way my kids see Christmas. We will be back every year.”’
To make the production accessible to all, the church offers golf carts for persons who are not able to stand or walk during the journey.
Persons may register for their “journey” time at the church’s website or by calling 903-786-2233. There is no admission fee, and groups and walk-ups are welcome. For additional information, visit http://www.NativityLive.com.
All attending are asked to arrive at least 15 minutes before start time. Georgetown Baptist Church is located at 207 Georgetown Road in Pottsboro.