There’s something about the movement, the warmth, the sounds, the very heartbeat of human beings and animals in living Nativities that make them so haunting and poignant at Christmastime.
When the carols we’ve been singing and the Scripture verses we’ve been hearing suddenly take on flesh – well, that brings us to the whole point of Christmas, doesn’t it?
Here are a few opportunities to take in living Nativities in the Wichita area in the coming days. Be sure to dress warmly.
• East Heights United Methodist Church, Sunday evening. Part of the annual College Hill trolley tour that sets out from the church at 4407 E. Douglas, anyone can attend the living Nativity that is staged outside the north entrance at 6, 6:30, 7 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Middle- and high-schoolers stage the Nativity, along with animals, and singing from the youth choir.
Indoors, there is a coffee bar and an exhibit of handmade toys that will be given to needy children. (If any tickets remain Sunday for the trolley tour, they will be on sale at the church from 9 a.m. to noon, and then again at 5 p.m.)
• A Night in Bethlehem, 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, First Christian Church, 1600 State St., Augusta.
This is the fifth year for First Christian Church in Augusta to put on an event that tries to re-create the streets of Bethlehem, with various shops, displays, a food court and re-enactments under a heated tent. There is then a tour of the live Nativity, which will be outdoors unless the weather is bitterly cold. About 150 people come through each of the two nights, said church administrator Anna Wallace.
“We change things up every year,” Wallace said. “It’s grown.”
Children can pet the animals and play games, and there are crafted items and food samples for purchase for small change. (Everyone receives a bag of denari to spend, and more is available for purchase.) People then can go into the church for soup and cookies, included in the admission of $1 or a non-perishable food item. Information, 316-775-6317.
• Madison Avenue United Methodist Church in Derby, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 900 E. Madison. The church will have an outdoor depiction of the Nativity. You can simply drive through, or get out of the car to pet the animals and interact with the characters. Admission is free.
• Fulton Valley Farms’ Country Christmas, 7, 8 and 9 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays through Dec. 29, 5079 SW Fulton Road in Towanda.
Fulton Valley Farms is a venue for weddings and other events, and this year, home to a Christmas event as well. The Country Christmas consists of 45 minutes of light shows and the living Nativity every hour. The light shows start at 6 p.m. Country singer Rusty Rierson narrates and sings during the Nativity presentation, either live or by recording, each night.
“In my heart, there’s somebody who needs to see this live Nativity,” owner Betty Corbin said. “And I knew the only way to get the people out was to do the light shows.”
Tickets are $12 for adults; $10 for military, students and seniors; $8 for ages 4 to 12; free for children 3 and under. A family four-pack is available for $36, and a six-pack for $58. For more information, see the website fvfcountrychristmas.com or call 316-775-1894.