Live Nativity starts tonight at Westview

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 19, 2014


Opp’s Westview Baptist Church has long been known for the live nativity it produces at Christmas. Last year, the church took the event to a new level, and music director Roger McLain said this year will be even better.

“For many years, we always had some kind of drive-through, or walk through, but always a live nativity of some kind,” McLain said. “We want to make it as authentic or realistic as possible.”

Several years ago, the church acquired 17 acres adjacent to the church property.

“There is a beautiful pond down in there,” McLain said. “I was standing on this side of the pond one day and I starting thinking, ‘Over there past the pond, that would be a beautiful scene for manger scene.’ ”

Soon, the idea came to fruition. Church volunteers cut a path through the woods and built new scenes.

“Like the inn scene, where Mary and Joseph were turned away,” McLain said. “Then around to the manger.”

To keep the production as authentic as possible, it is lighted by campfires and torches, with only one silent generator in use for a special effect.

Henry the camel, a perennial nativity star, along with donkeys and sheep, add to the authenticity of the scene.

Those who visit the production will be directed out of their cars into a tent area. The church is providing tractors and 18-foot trailers for the tour, which McLain likened to a hayride.

“We will have guest hosts on the trailer, and it will be like a hay ride back in the woods,” he said. “Children love it, and parents are in awe as well.”

The Bethlehem tour ends at the manger, where the trailer is parked for a few minutes before an a capella duet of “O, Holy Night,” is performed.

“You can hear the echo of “O Holy Night” at the church offices,” he said. “It is very authentic, meaningful, and really exciting.”

More than 900 people visited the live nativity last year, and McLain said he expects more this year.

In the past, he said, when the event was held just off the highway, people watched the construction from the highway and knew more about the event.

“Last year, all they knew was what they had heard,” McLain said. It’s hard to explain to somebody what’s back there.”

“We want to put into adults’ minds, the real meaning of Christmas,” McLain said. “If it wasn’t about Jesus, Christ wouldn’t be in the name of it.”

The live nativity will be open from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. this Fri., Sat., and Sun., Dec. 19, 20 and 21. Westview is located at 1404 Main St. in Opp.