Like pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle, the village of Bethlehem lies in stacks of lettered and numbered wooden panels in the park area of First Baptist Church in Thomson.
Soon those pieces will be reassembled to recreate "One Night in Bethlehem."
The drive-through living nativity will be open on Tuesday through Thursday, December 16-18, from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. each evening. Admission is free and open to the public.
"One Night in Bethlehem" uses over eighty actors appearing in ten individual scenes to depict the story of the birth of Jesus. As visitors drive from scene to scene, they are drawn by Scripture-based narration into the wonderful story of that long-ago night.
Background music and the glow of firelight help to create a sense of the time and place. A variety of live animals - llamas, donkeys, sheep, and goats - help to complete the sense of reality.
This is the ninth annual presentation of "One Night in Bethlehem," an event which has grown with each passing year. A record numbers of guests visited the Nativity last year.
More than 700 vehicles carrying 2000 plus guests came through on the three nights.
For the First Baptist family, "One Night in Bethlehem" has become their Christmas gift to the community. Some church members eagerly sign up for cast parts, while others volunteer to work with everything from construction or costumes to food preparation or traffic direction. Even some senior adults who otherwise might not be able to work on the Nativity are part of a Nativity Prayer Team. The First Baptist family takes the Nativity very seriously as an outreach effort. Before the cast goes out each night onto the Nativity set, FBC pastor Jim Ramsey reminds everyone that this could be the night that someone who has never heard the story of Jesus Christ will hear it for the first time. The Nativity, with a cast of more than 80 actors in 10 individual scenes, is free and open to the public. The only access to the Nativity is from the Warrenton Highway onto National Avenue.
For more information, contact the church office at 706-595-4252.