Live nativity shares the message of the season

| December 7, 2020

The Coshocton Christian Tabernacle presented its annual Journey Back Through Time to The Live Nativity for three nights on Dec. 4-6.

Twenty-three years ago, when the church was located on Browns Lane, then choir director, Mary Ann Gill had an idea for a live nativity. She wondered if they could do something more than the 20 member choir singing at Christmas that would involve the whole church. And it certainly has, there are at least 100 people involved  from building the sets, to making costumes, Bible characters, organization and the pastor’s wife at that time even went in search of some camels. “She found some and they were the tamest camels I have ever seen. My husband would walk one of them right up to the cars and it would stick its head in the window. One of the camels would kneel at the manger. A lot of people were touched by it. People see the true meaning of Christmas that Jesus was born for their salvation,” Gill said.

Jacque Wagner has been the director at the new location on Airport Road for the last 10 years. “It can be set up within a week now because a lot of the buildings are already there,” she said. “We still have some original costumes and sets we use every year. We have a lot of participants and it’s outside and spread out to make it a gift to the community. There are a lot of people working behind the scene. We get everyone in their places and make sure the scenes are the way they need to be. We have two – one hour shifts so they don’t get as cold. Kids get to participate; they are mainly in the market selling goods and playing.”

The display also includes a lot of animals.

“There are three camels that we get from an Amish family every year,” Wagner said. “Chickens and goats in the market and llamas, sheep, cows and a donkey. The animals come from different places both local and Amish.”

Mike Leach remembers playing Joseph with his son Jesus in the carpenter shop for six or seven years. “We were able to build a bird house during that time,” he said. “It’s a humbling thing to show the life of Jesus. I am proud to be a part of that.”

Lauren and Nick Johnson portrayed Mary and Joseph going to the tax collector. Nick said he had been a part of it when it was still on Browns Lane. “I’ve done about everything. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid about 7-years-old. It’s my favorite part of Christmas, a great time for the church.”

This 10 minute journey begins at the market place in Bethlehem to the tax collector tent and on to the inn which leads to the stable where Joseph, Mary and  baby Jesus finally  find rest. The angel choir brings the good news of the birth of Jesus to the shepherds guarding their sheep, Wise Men and the nativity show a picture of the life of Jesus from birth to the resurrection. The event is a moving and emotional experience for all ages every holiday season.

The Coshocton Christian tabernacle is located on Airport Road (across from Walmart). Worship Hours are Sunday School 9 a.m., morning worship 10 a.m. and Wednesday evenings at 6 p.m.

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