Gibson Memorial UMC to offer live Nativity
Published 4:51 pm Monday, December 5, 2022
Symbolic of the holy night Christ was born is the Nativity, which depicts the newborn Jesus with the Virgin Mary and other figures.
Found in the early Christian catacomb of Saint Valentine, the first Nativity scene dates to A.D. 380.
St. Francis of Assisi is credited with the first live Nativity scene. It was set up in what is now central Italy in 1223, to encourage further worship of Christ.
Today, live Nativity scenes can be found in all parts of the world, including Vicksburg.
For more than 20 years, Gibson Memorial United Methodist Church has presented a live Nativity and will do so again this year from 6 to 8 p.m., Dec. 9 and 10, at the church located at 335 Oak Ridge Road.
The Rev. Mitch Cochran, who is the preacher at Gibson UMC, said offering a live Nativity is something the church members enjoy doing for the community.
“I think it has become a tradition for people and it is something so simple,” Cochran said. To set up everything it takes only a day or two, which includes installing wiring for the lights.
Manning the live Nativity itself, Cochran said, is non-taxing. There are 16 to 20 people portraying Mary, Joseph, three wise men and shepherds. They volunteer in two shifts that rotate at 30-minute intervals each night.
Offering a live Nativity to the community is rewarding, Cochran said, and he and the church members are always surprised at the turn out.
“We are always amazed at how many people come through because there is no acting and no words. It is just us there as a scene.”
This could be due to the fact people are wanting to be reminded of the true meaning of Christmas.
“I came across this quote that said Advent is the most counter-cultural season of the Christian year. Because while the world is saying do all this stuff — buy and shop and eat and go — during Advent the church’s response is ‘We have to wait.,’” Cochran said. “We have to wait for Jesus to come. And the live Nativity is a chance for people to sit and watch and be still for a moment and just be in God’s presence this time of the year.”
The King Solomon Baptist Church will also hold a live Nativity beginning at 6 p.m. Dec. 13 through 15 at the church, 180 Oak Ridge Road.