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Methodists present living nativity

Church hosts drive-through scenes from Christmas story

Posted: December 19, 2008 8:20 p.m.
Updated: December 20, 2008 4:55 a.m.

Pageant participants pose in a scene of Jesus' birth during last year's drive-through Living Nativity hosted by the Santa Clarita United Methodist Church. This year will mark the church's 26th Living Nativity. Guests can drive through anytime from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. tonight and Sunday to experience the Christmas story at 26640 Bouquet Canyon Ro...

Santa Clarita United Methodist Church will host its 26th drive-through Living Nativity from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. tonight and Sunday at 26640 Bouquet Canyon Road.

Nativity co-coordinator Rob Peck knows this is not the only or biggest active nativity display in the valley, but nonetheless, the church is proud to present the story of Jesus' birth as a "gift to the community," he said.

There are six scenes that attendees drive through at no charge. The scenes are tableau-style, meaning participants put on the costume of a character from the Christmas story and pose in one of the six different scenes for at least one half-hour shift, Peck said.

Guests drive through listening to the Scriptures and music from a provided CD, according to information offered by the church.

"It's designed to be a moment when families can experience the true meaning of Christmas," Peck said.
"Most of us are caught up in buying gifts and rushing to parties and that kind of stuff, and sometimes we forget Christmas is based around birth of Jesus. This is an opportunity to experience his light brought 2000 years ago."

While plenty of church members participate in the annual display, Peck said non-church members are also encouraged to participate, and many do.

"That's the beauty of the tableau-style scene - you don't have to learn any lines," Peck said.

"You just get dressed in your costume, whether it's a shepherd or an angel, Mary or Joseph and you go and you stand in that scene as the cars drive by. You don't have to have any special experience to participate. We have all ages from babies up through senior citizens that participate."

Doug Kreis of Newhall directed traffic during the event for 12 years.

"What's really good about it, honestly, is just to see the look on people's faces as they come through," he said.

"A lot of times you see the kids for the first time and their eyes are all over the place looking at what's going on and just the involvement of the season."

Kreis dresses in a Scrooge-like stove top hat and jacket, an aspect which he said gives guests "something to look at and wonder who that strange guy is."

Kreis expects to see a good turnout.

"Sometimes, we've been backed up as many as 20 to 25 cars," he said. "There are a lot of people who aren't members of the church who say they come every year. It's part of their Christmas tradition to bring the kids to it."


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