Churches welcome all to experience the nativity

Nearly all of Sharon Baptist Church’s 180 members participate in some way during the annual Hayride Through the Life of Christ.

 

Whether it’s the member who donates money for materials, passes out hot chocolate to guests standing in line, helps with parking or takes on one of the characters in the production, almost all the members have some role, said the Rev. Andy Collins of Sharon Baptist Church.

“We believe this is God’s gift we’ve been given,” said Collins of the show and the reason the members come together to support it.

The 15th annual Hayride Through the Life of Christ will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 7-10 at the Columbia County Fairgrounds. The event is free.

It features 13 scenes. It begins with a marketplace, where merchants will try to sell their fish, bread or other goods; then it follows 11 vignettes including the birth of Christ and his healing of the leper as well as his death on the cross and Resurrection. In the final scene, a member of Sharon Baptist Church will share her story about how Christ has impacted her.

Collins said there are nine trucks that will take about 25 guests through at a time. About 3,000 people attend the event each year.

While people wait for the hayride, there is live entertainment, hot chocolate and a children’s area with crafts and coloring sheets.

Another outdoor event is the annual live Nativity at National Hills Baptist Church from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 12 and 13.

Mary and Joseph, along with the wise men and shepherds, will be joined by an array of live animals including sheep, a camel and a donkey.

Between 350 and 400 people visit the live Nativity over the course of the two nights. The church has been putting on the event for nearly a decade, said Dr. Kevin Steele, National Hills Baptist Church senior pastor.

Steele said some people only stay for a few minutes while others linger to take in all of the sights.

Across the Savannah River, there are a few other churches who take their Christmas programs outdoors.

Grace United Methodist Church typically brings its Return to Bethlehem, but it is letting its hundreds of volunteers take a year off, according to church office volunteer Barry Whitney. The production should return next December.

Breezy Hill Baptist Church in Graniteville, S.C., presents its 20th annual Christmas on Breezy Hill from Dec. 6-9. This year’s theme is The Miracle of Christmas.

About 7,000 people attend the event each year, according to Camela Pilgrim, church office administrator.

Christmas on Breezy Hill includes a hayride on the church property. On the hayride, there’s a story that includes the Nativity. Rides begin at 6:30 p.m. and will take guests through a variety of Christmas lights displays decorated by church members.

Pilgrim said the displays are related to the theme. Previous themes have focused on Christmas hymns and being a kid at heart.

And in Wagener, S.C., Berlin Baptist Church will present its fourth annual live Nativity called Bethlehem’s Child for two consecutive weekends, Dec. 2-3 and Dec. 9-10.

The event is a walk-through featuring a recreation of the village of Bethlehem and will be open both nights from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in downtown Wagener.

 

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