Christmas… it’s a holiday with so many meanings to so many people. It’s a time of giving, a time of tradition, a time of love and family, but to many people it’s a religious holiday that marks the birth of Jesus Christ. Penn Forest Christian Church celebrated and honored the Christmas holiday with their annual Live Nativity that took place from Friday, December 14 until Sunday, December 16. The event is designed to be driven through in a car or walked, as many families decided to do on the Friday night I visited.
Using members of the church as characters and live animals from the Natural Bridge Zoo, the Biblical scenes are brought to life. Members of Penn Forest Christian Church have been reenacting the story of Jesus’ birth since 1985 and, as I walked through the live nativity, I spoke with many families who have been coming to the event for years and make it part of their annual Christmas family tradition. My family even made it a part of our tradition growing up, and I plan to continue with my husband and son. According to their website http://www.pennforest.org/ministries/outreach, “the three day event draws over 5,000 people.”
There were seven scenes that were depicted in the live nativity: Mary visited by the Angel to announce that she will be the Mother of God’s Son, the angels pronounce to the shepherds that the child is born, the choir of angels, Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem, the iconic manger scene with Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus, the wise men following the star in order to find the Christ Child, and Jesus Christ risen from the dead after the Crucifixion.
Christmas may mean different things to different people… but as I walked through the scenes of the live nativity with my husband and ten month old son in tow, I realized I had forgotten about all the shopping I still needed to do, the cards I needed to send out, and the general hustle and bustle that so often overwhelms this holiday. I realized that Christmas is a day and a time to remember the important things in life. Penn Forest Christian Church has created a wonderful opportunity for families and friends to be reminded of those important things. They have created a tradition that will span many more years and, hopefully, touch many more families.