With no where to go these days, my kids looked surprised when we told them to pile in the car on December 11th. My husband and I, like most parents, have been looking for ways to make Christmas fun and meaningful for our children. We told the kids we were going to see a drive-thru, living nativity. This news was met with mixed feelings, until we got there.
So, what is this drive-thru, living nativity? It was a 2-night event organized by Harmony Baptist Church, Hamilton. As cars drove through the church property, they listened to a narration on CD or YouTube. At each display, a new track would tell of what was happening, following the events leading to Christ’s birth. Each display had actors giving life to the narration and colourful backdrops set the scene.
Pastor Elden Faulkner tells me that Harmony Baptist Church has been hoping to find more ways to reach out to the surrounding community of young families new to the area. The suggestion to do this was given by a deacon, Patty Falletta and directed by her and her husband Vince (Chair of their Property Board). With two weeks to pull this together and no budget, Harmony volunteers rallied resources. The church cleared the event with the city and public health. Due to regulations, they were limited in the number of actors they could have. Actors were grouped by households and spread out in the scenes for effect and safety reasons. This idea answered the question “How can we make people feel secure?” By keeping them in their own vehicles. The property at Harmony Baptist Church is ideal because it has a driveway at either end allowing for an organized flow of traffic.
Angels and Roman guards in safety vests and face masks greeted cars as they entered; handing out CDs with narration, warning where the speed bumps were, and gathering donations for the local food bank. Passing under an archway of colourful lights created a warm welcome as the journey to Bethlehem began. Magi, census takers, angels, Mary, merchants, live goats and donkeys and, of course, baby Jesus were all there.
Pastor Elden also said how volunteers really enjoyed working on this event.
It was a fun way to come together after being apart for so long. Seeing others from a distance working on their piece of the set felt like we are still community.
This last-minute plan was a blessing to over 200+ cars of people. They raised $800.00 in cash and a pick-up truck full of non-perishable food for the local food bank, a charity this church often supports. This year they chose to support the food bank in this way because they hope the community, not yet connected to a church, will feel a sense of ownership for having helped raise so much.
“It was a great upbeat for the church; and we can see that moral is high.”
Discussions and plans for next year are already underway.
As we left, my kids announced, “That was way better than I thought from what you said, Mom!” And a stream of “I liked the…” filled our car. To Harmony Baptist Church and others that provided safe experiences for families, thank you! My family and so many others, were blessed this Christmas by your hard work and your dedication to sharing the good news of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.