Nativity Through the Eyes of Naiser
By Dodd Naiser
The Live Nativity: A Christmas Tradition
There are many wonderful events that occur throughout the Geneva school year. One of the most awe inspiring events would have to be the culmination of all that our grammar students learned during the fall being presented in a lovely way during the Christmas program. Traditionally the rhetoric school students provide a post-Christmas program surprise to our grammar school guests with a live nativity.
The live nativity is intended to give onlookers a glimpse of what it might have been like when baby Jesus was born just over two-thousand years ago. Rhetoric school Student volunteers pull this nativity together. This year Sayers will coordinate key elements and construct the stable. Chaucer will provide characters that comprise the Holy Family as well as shepherds and live animals. Lewis will provide the host of angels and magi. Milton will provide the lighting, a musical element and various support features. Many costumes and support elements will be provided from assets used in St. Joseph Honey-Creek’s “Drive Thru Bethlehem” production.
Over a year ago the pastor at St. Joseph Honey-Creek felt a strong calling to organize a Live Nativity for the general public. With that calling, event leadership was pulled together and the church mustered over 200 volunteers to build ten scenes that told the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. One-hundred and eighty volunteers were dressed in costumes of the time Jesus was born. The actors included shepherds, angels, roman soldiers, census takers, market merchants, market shoppers, magi, and of course Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus. Four by five foot signs were made to present biblical quotes describing each scene. The scenes included the annunciation, Joseph and pregnant Mary’s flight to Bethlehem for the census, various scenes in the market, a host of angels visiting shepherds, a choir, and a live nativity complete with sheep, goats, a camel, magi, Mary and Joseph, and of course, a live baby Jesus. The lighting was soft and natural with candles and pit fires here and there. The Bethlehem market included a life size one-hundred foot long wall made to look like the stone blocks of the buildings of Bethlehem. There was also an Inn with a sign that said “No Room!”
The 16th of December 2016 was the first year St. Joseph Honey-Creek put on the “Drive Thru Bethlehem.” The hope was that maybe two-dozen cars would drive thru. The church volunteers felt it would be a success just to pull together such a production. Well, they experienced a rather large miracle. The Lord obviously got the message out. The plan was to open the line at 7pm. At about 6:45 pm the traffic control lead, a roman soldier, called the project manager to say a pretty long line of cars was queuing at the entrance to the Church. The decision was made to open the line early. From the time the gate was opened to the time the gate had to be closed to allow the Bulverde Police Officers release from duty, they experienced bumper to bumper traffic with over 1,500 visiting cars seeking a glimpse of baby Jesus. Emmanuel!
Unfortunately, this year’s “Drive Thru Bethlehem” had to be postponed due to construction on highway 46 right in front of the Church. But, mark your calendar for the 21st of December 2018 for next year’s “Drive Thru Bethlehem”. God willing, St. Joseph Honey-Creek will host this live nativity every year on the third Friday of December.