Greenbrier Road Baptist Church live Nativity

Actors Wesley Taylor, portraying Joseph, and Callie Daniel, portraying Mary, pose for a photo with some animals as they prepare for the live Nativity presentation at Greenbrier Road Baptist Church.

For many years, Greenbrier Road Baptist Church has put on a live Nativity for the community at Christmas. This year’s event will be bigger than ever, thanks to the influence of new pastor Keith Screws.

“He is a very passionate pastor,” said church member Karen Wade. “He loves the Word. He loves going out into the community, and he loves drawing the community in to get them to know God.”

This year’s Nativity will be held Dec. 7-9 and will feature more live animals and more people, including a 100-voice choir. Members of other churches have been invited to be townspeople and choir members. “We’re asking churches from around Calhoun County to join with us,” Wade said.

Visitors to the live Nativity will begin their journey in the church sanctuary (where it’s warm) before loading up for a hayride to a small town designed to feel like ancient Bethlehem.

There will be shops offering woodworking, basket-weaving, rugs and looming, and herbs and perfume. There will be a census-taker, and a stable and King Herod’s palace.

“It’s so kids can see what life was like then,” Wade said. “Instead of riding in a Mercedes, Mary and Joseph rode a donkey.”

The town will also be populated with live animals, including sheep, chickens, goats, alpacas and a donkey. The animal star, however, is a camel named Wednesday. (Guess what day it is!)

Wednesday the camel will also accompany the church’s float in the Oxford Christmas parade on Dec. 6.

After walking through the city, visitors will be seated in a small outdoor amphitheater to watch a production of the Nativity story. Mary and Joseph will journey to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus, who will be celebrated by the 100-voice choir and visited by three wise men (and possibly the camel, depending on how Wednesday reacts to being around a crowd).

There will be three showtimes each night, at 6 p.m, 6:45 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (with the possibility of a fourth show at 8:15 p.m. if there are enough people).

The church will take reservations for groups. To make a reservation, call Kelly Harrison at 256-283-0828 or the church office at 256-831-8854.

Lisa Davis is Features Editor of The Anniston Star. Contact her at 256-235-3555 or ldavis@annistonstar.com.

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