Living Nativity

The Living Nativity, a drive-through performance of six scenes depicting Jesus' birth and the events leading up to it, will be at Faith United Church on Saturday.

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SIOUX CITY | Dozens of actors from Faith United Presbyterian and Westminster Presbyterian will be performing a set of six live-action Nativity scenes at "The Living Nativity: A Christmas Gift for Siouxland," this Saturday.

The scenes won't be presented inside a church, but rather in the parking lot at Faith United.  

Erica MacCreaigh, pastor at Westminster Presbyterian, said attendees don't even need to get out of the car -- just drive by and look out the window. 

"We've got everything from Gabriel announcing to Mary that she's going to have Jesus, all the way to the birth of Jesus," MacCreaigh said. 

Don't worry about not being able to hear from inside the car -- the scenes are presented like a silent movie. They even have title cards to explain the scenes. 

"There aren't any lines," MacCreaigh said. "We're sort of setting up these tableaux for people to look at, and we've got a really sophisticated set of lights that illuminate all of these scenes." 

David Koehler, pastor at Faith United, said he has never heard of other churches doing drive-through Christmas scenes like this. 

"To my knowledge, this is a pretty unique presentation to the community," he said. 

Before Living Nativity came to Faith United, it was held at Westminster. But the parking lot at Westminster wasn't quite right for the event, so Westminster partnered with what were then Morningside Presbyterian and Third Presbyterian churches to hold the event. 

Morningside and Third Presbyterian later unified as Faith United, and the event has been held there since. 

Carolyn Daniels, an organizer of the program with Faith United, said the show offers some "balance" to the Christmas season. 

"Balance between Santa Claus and shopping and the reason for the season," Daniels said.

One part of the show should be fun for both the adults and kids in the car -- real, live animals. The churches are working with a petting zoo to get some animals to take part, as they have in previous years. 

"Sheep and goats and a donkey and maybe a baby donkey and a llama and that makes our story so much more real," Daniels said. 

Any donations received during the performance will be given to the Warming Shelter. Originally, MacCreaigh said they had planned to give proceeds to a national Presbyterian disaster response organization. 

"But then we got to thinking -- most of the people coming through this aren't going to be Presbyterians. We definitely want it to be completely and totally and open to the city. So we wanted something that would matter to the people who live here," MacCreaigh said. "And we thought of the Warming Shelter as particularly appropriate because of the Biblical story of Mary and Joseph not having a place to stay at night.

"They (Mary and Joseph) didn't wind up in life where they thought they were going to, and we think that that's maybe the story of some here in Sioux City, and we thought it was an appropriate connection." 

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Lifestyles reporter

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