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Gibson Memorial set to host annual living nativity

The birth of Christ comes alive Friday and Saturday when the congregation of Gibson Memorial United Methodist Church presents its living nativity from 6 to 8 p.m. at the church, 335 Oak Ridge Road.

“We’ve been doing the live nativity for about 20 years,” pastor Rev. Mitch Cochran said. “You drive through the parking lot and there’s a tableau there. We have people dressed as the people of the nativity. There’s a little bit of movement, but not really anything we act out.

“There’s music playing, and if it’s warm enough and you have your windows down, you can hear Christmas music just as a way of highlighting the season.”

Cochran said the church will have lights in the parking lot, and the marquee sign on Oak Ridge Road to help visitors.

“Sometimes we’ll have someone in the parking lot directing people, but usually it (traffic) flows through easily,” he said. “We’ll do it for the two nights, and usually we’ll average about 25 cars a night, but sometimes there’s more; it just depends on the weather.”

He quoted one of the members of the congregation, “If one person comes through and it touches them, that’s the main reason we’re there.”

“People in the area know they will see something simple and doesn’t take a lot of time, so you can do it on your way to somewhere,” Cochran said. “We find it quite meaningful and we enjoy being able to do that for the community.”

The church’s live nativity recalls two sections from the New Testament of the Bible:

Luke 2

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

Matthew 2:11

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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