Shenandoah, VA

Live Nativity at Shenandoah Baptist Church emphasized the Reason for the season

Cheryl E Preston
Live NativityPhoto byCheryl E Preston

Reeinactment of the first Christmas

Sunday night December 18 was the final night of the Shenandoah Baptist Church presentation of its Live Nativity. The weather was cold but the atmosphere was warm with the hope of the season. There were pit fires in barrels strategically located around the property where you could roast marshmallows, drink hot chocolate and keep warm as you waited. Christmas songs were playing and being sung by a hoit and many in the audience joined in. The most wonderful thing about the night or me was the feeling of love and unity in the air.

For a little over 2 hours in a large gathering, there was no pushing or shoving and I heard not one word of profanity. Everyone seemed to have a single focus and its something you must feel and cannot adequately describe with words. It was as if we had stepped out of our normal reality and entered something more pure and holy for lack of verbiage.
Angels announce Chrit's birth to the ShepherdsPhoto byCheryl E Preston

A wonderful Christmas time

When the tour began we walked along a trail where various actors were in the roles of Biblical characters like Mary, Joseph, shepherds, King Herod, Roman soldiers, and Wise Men. There was even a reainactment of Jospeh hearing God speak in a dream with fog coming through a door when God was speaking. I literally felt as if I were transported back in time to the night Christ was born like little Benjy in the 1970 animated Christmas is.
Joseph hears God in a dream.Photo byCheryl E Preston

I thought of the Paul McCartney holiday classic and altered the lyrics a bit.

The mood is right
The (Holy) spirit’s up
We're here tonight
And that's enough

The party's on
The feeling's here
That only comes
This time of year Simply having a wonderful Christmas time.
The cattle are lowingPhoto byCheryl E Preston

Angels we have heard on high

When angels literally appeared from the sky I was in awe and wondered how these actors remained near the trees and were dealing with the cold. My grandson later informed me that they were robots and not humans but they looked so real. The sky overhead was clear and stars were twinkling as they must have that first Christmas night. As we continued to walk we saw several sheep who were definitely real.

The roughly 30-minute free tour came to a close as we sat on benches and were told the Christmas story is what led to Christ dying on Calvary and across the field, we could see three wooden crosses. There was a man kneeling near me when I took the picture of the scene and I realized there was symbolism in the image. This man was just in front of one of the fires with the crosses a little ways off.
The manger leads to the crossPhoto byCheryl E Preston

Choices choices

To me, he presented those in the valley of decision who must make a choice. They can be drawn in by the hypnotic allure of the fire, hoping not to get burned although they know they will .or accept all that the Cross offers. Live Nativity scenes are important because many congregations no longer have children and have long ago discarded the plays and pageants that told the story of the first Christmas morning that many of us grew up with. If you missed this annual holiday tradition at Shenendoah Baptist Church please keep it in mind and consider attending next year, God willing.
Herod interrogates the wise menPhoto byCheryl E Preston

Wise men still seek Him

There were hundreds of people at Shenandoah Baptist Church when my grandchildren and I arrived at 6:20 and when we left at 8:30 there were still vehicles coming into the parking lot. I thought back to how we were asked to join in and sing O Come All Ye Faithful when we stood before Mary, Joseph, and the newborn Christ child. May the faithful continue to come and wise men keep seeking Him. Merry Christmas Roanoke and surrounding areas.

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I write, about breaking news, and current events. I wrote a newspaper column from 1997 to 2007 and have written for various online platforms since 2012 including Yahoo Contributor Network, Hubpages, and Vocal Media.

Roanoke, VA

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