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Live nativity scenes used to celebrate Jesus’ birth

Published: Friday, Dec. 20, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT
(Rob Winner file photo –
Evan Thompson of Sycamore, is jailed by Pastor Bob Weinhold, who was playing a Roman soldier during a "Night in Bethlehem Market Place" at St. John Lutheran Church in Sycamore in 2011. The church sets up the marketplace each year to simulate activities and happenings of the time period Jesus Christ was born. This year's event will be held at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

There is no Christmas without Jesus Christ for James Freund.

The senior pastor of Genoa-based CrossWind Community Church said Christmas remains an important celebration because it represents the coming of Jesus Christ. 

“It’s when God sent his Son into the world and that is what Christmas is all about,” he said. 

Freund and several other area church leaders are holding live nativity scenes this month to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. CrossWind Community Church has decided to take a “drive-through” approach to telling the story of Christmas. 

Visitors can come to the church from 6 to 8 p.m. today and Saturday to drive through the church’s parking lot and view eight scenes that depict key moments from story of Jesus Christ’s birth. 

Some of the scenes feature real people while other scenes display figures. Freund said the live nativity sequence is almost like scenes of a picture. 

“We’ll see how it works,” he said. “It’s the first time we’ve tried it ... if we feel it’s successful we’ll enhance it every year.” 

A script of each scene will be provided and visitors can listen to Christmas music on the radio at 89.7 FM. 

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. John will hold live nativity scenes in the church’s sanctuary at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Both adults and children will act scenes out, said the Rev. Robert Weinhold. 

In the past, church members used live animals such as sheep, goats, roosters and in one case, a donkey. Because of weather conditions, they decided to forgo using animals. 

The church also has set up a Bethlehem marketplace to simulate activities and happenings of the time period Jesus Christ was born, which was when Rome was occupying Israel, Weinhold said. 

“The last few years we have done a Bethlehem marketplace instead of a live nativity but we just decided to do an acting out of the birth of Christ,” he said. 

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church will hold a children’s Christmas pageant at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve, said the Rev. Stacy Walker-Frontjes. For the story of Christmas, children dress up in traditional roles like Mary, Joseph, a sheep or an angel. 

An adult will be on hand to tell the story while children act out of the scenes. 

“We use a Sunday school method here called ‘Godly Play,’” she said. “… the intention is to make the tradition and scripture come alive to children through play and storytelling.” 


If you go

Live Nativity Events

What: CrossWind Community Church Drive-Through Nativity When: 6 to 8 p.m. today and Saturday Where: 13100 Cherry Road, Genoa

What: The Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. John Live Nativity When: 4:30 p.m. Saturday Where: 26555 Brickville Road, Sycamore

What: St. Paul's Episcopal Church Children's Christmas Pageant When: 4 p.m. Dec. 24 Where: 900 Normal Road, DeKalb

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