Live Nativity set for this weekend

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, December 5, 2012

An Albert Lea church is continuing its tradition of bringing the true meaning of Christmas to the community.

New Life Christian Church will host the 19th annual drive-through live Nativity on Friday and Saturday at the church, 1705 S.E. Marshall St.

As in the past, people are invited to drive their vehicles through the church’s circle drive from 7 to 9 p.m. both days to see live actors and animals re-enact the birth and life of Jesus Christ.

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“We’re hoping it puts everyone in the right frame of mind for Christmas instead of all the commercial and the rush,” said co-director Sue Foss.

There are eight separate scenes of Christ in the live performance, starting with the prophetic promise and ending with the Crucifixion and empty tomb of Jesus.

Director Jerry Copas said it takes between 90 and 120 people to put on the event, and volunteers come from the New Life Christian Church and the Albert Lea Vineyard Church. Volunteers change shifts every 20 minutes.

Copas said organizers begin preparing for the Nativity three or four months in advance. This afternoon there will be as many as 40 volunteers putting up the sets for each scene.

The event began 19 years ago on a much smaller scale than it is today. The church’s members wanted to find something they could do to benefit the community.

“It’s basically our Christmas card to the community,” Copas said.

People will be asked to enter the circle drive of the church parking lot from the east on S.E. Marshall Street. Volunteers and signs will be set up to direct drivers.

Cars need to turn off their lights as they enter the parking lot, and spotlights will light the way.

People will be given a brochure when they first enter that describes each scene. As they exit they driveway, volunteers will hand out a booklet with the story of the candy cane.

The event is free, and in case of inclement weather, the nativity will be canceled.