LAUREL HILL — It takes many hours and many volunteers from multiple churches, but by 5:30 p.m. Dec. 10, Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church will be ready to host its annual Living Nativity.

Participants embark on their own spiritual “journey to Bethlehem,” following winding candlelit paths around the church grounds.

Along their journey, visitors encounter familiar characters from the Bible story of Christ’s birth.

“This is our Living Nativity’s sixth year,” program director Brian Hughes said. “It’s something we look forward to doing every year. It gives those of us who produce the program and perform in it an opportunity to pause from the holiday madness and reflect on that wondrous event that happened two millennia ago.”

The journey begins at the home of “Dr. Luke” — St. Luke, after all, was a physician — who sets the ambience as he bids visitors to cast their minds back to a similar “silent night” 2,000 years ago before sending them on their journey.

As they follow the glowing path, they will meet a Roman census taker, who explains why so many people are traveling that night. Guests will meet Mary, a girl who anguishes over telling her fiancé that she is pregnant with God’s son.

Joseph, for his part, debates whether he should defy his people’s traditions and cast Mary away, as she is with child but unmarried. Shepherds share their wonder at news delivered by an angel of a miraculous birth. Meanwhile, King Herod schemes a way to destroy the threat to his throne.

Before arriving at the manger in Bethlehem, guests will visit the camp of three kings from the Orient, who share news of a star that has led them on their own journey.

New to this year’s program is one of the heavenly hosts, an angel, performed by Janice Lynn Crose, a former professional vocalist, who sings of the wonder of that night.

There is no cost to take the “journey to Bethlehem,” groups are welcome, and refreshments await in the church’s fellowship hall when guests conclude their journeys.

Groups depart regularly from 5:30 until 8 p.m. Escorts share the Bible reference for each tableau that guests encounter on the way.

 

WANT TO GO?

What: The Living Nativity

When: Saturday, Dec. 10, with tours from 5:30-8 p.m.

Where: Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church, 8115 Fourth St., parking at the oval track, Fourth Street and Park Avenue

Cost: Free admission

Notes: Spiritual “Journey to Bethlehem” featuring actors portraying characters from the Bible. Groups depart regularly starting at 5:30 p.m. Refreshments follow each tour. Information: 758-8854