A drive or walk-through
live outdoor nativity scene in five parts
"Christmas Gift to the Community"
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The tradition of a live nativity scene dates back to the days of St. Francis of Assisi. Francis was anxious for the poor and illiterate to experience the wonder and joy of the birth of the Christ child. Since they were unable to read, he presented the story to them in a living fashion. Ever since, people of all ages and stations in life have been drawn by the simplicity and beauty of the stable.
The First Baptist Church of Oak Park carries on this tradition with its “Journey to Bethlehem.” But in addition to the stable, we have added a few scenes from the story.
The Appearance to Mary
And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.” (Luke 1:30 –31)
In this scene, the angel Gabriel appears to Mary at her well by her home in Nazareth. He brings the word that she will soon give birth to a child who will sit on the throne of David. The message fills the maiden with wonder and awe.
The Journey to Bethlehem
“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.” (Luke 2: 4 –5)
Ancient prophecy had indicated that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, the city of David. Bethlehem was located some seventy miles from Nazareth. A decree was issued by Rome that all the world should be taxed, and that all had to return to their original homes to be registered. Since Joseph was from Bethlehem, he and Mary were forced to make the long and difficult journey to this village near Jerusalem.
Herod’s Throne Room
“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem saying, ‘Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2: 1 –2)
Among the first to learn of the Messiah’s birth were the Magi. The Magi were probably astrologers who lived in Persia. They traveled to pay homage to the new king. Naturally, the first place they came looking for the king was in the palace of the reigning king.
And there were shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night. An angel of the Lord appeared and said, ‘Be not afraid, for to you is born in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord.’” (Luke 2: 8 –11)
Shepherds were the outcasts of society, rarely coming into town. How poignant it is that the angels appeared to lowly shepherds, reassuring them, and entrusting to them the news of Christ’s birth.
“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” (Luke 2: 7)
The birthplace of the Messiah was not in a palace, but in a stable surrounded by animals. It was here where the Word became flesh and began to dwell among us.
Last Updated on Friday, 02 September 2016 12:04