Every year in early December, the Searcy First Assembly of God in Searcy, AR, hosts a drive-through Living Nativity. My husband and I have been attending since before we had kids, so the girls have never missed one in their lifetimes. The church has built the entire town of Bethlehem in a drive-through loop behind their chapel. With all of the commercialism of Christmas these days, and the focus on Santa and toys and jewelry and electronics, sometimes we simply forget “The Reason for the Season.” It’s nice to have a tradition that so eloquently re-focuses us on the true meaning of Christmas.
It’s like stepping back in time as we drive through the town gates, guarded by Roman soldiers. We progress through town, watching tradesmen and shopkeepers sell their wares. We pass the tax collector and the census taker, eventually making our way to the Inn where Mary and Joseph are being turned away. Continuing through town, we pass King Herod in his fine home and then towards the shepherds, faithfully guarding their flocks. Next, we see the Angel of the Lord, heralding the birth of the Christ child, and the Three Kings (Wise Men) bearing their gifts as they follow the Star of Bethlehem. As we exit through the town gates, we gaze upon the manger, where Mary and Joseph adore their newborn baby, Jesus. It is a beautiful, heart-warming image upon which to end our trip.
I hope we all manage to carry this image and feeling in our hearts through the holiday season. And instead of giving in to all the stress and pressure and commercialism, we allow the true meaning of Christmas to keep us grounded during this hectic season.
The Living Nativity had to cancel last Saturday night due to rain, so they have extended this weekend’s schedule to include tonight. You can check out their website (including videos, photo gallery and map/directions) here, or their facebook page here. They are open for the next four nights, but this is their last weekend of the season, so if you miss them now you will have to wait until next year. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience the true purpose of the season by reliving the first Christmas!