Outdoor Living Nativity brings Christmas story to life at Trinity
Free soup and cider to go, bake sale, and gifts for the children add to the holiday spirit
TINA L. SCOTT
What brings the Christmas story to life better than a live nativity with human characters and live animals? Trinity Lutheran Church, on the corner of W. Main and State Streets in Merrill, invites everyone to contemplate the true meaning of Christmas, as they either drive through or walk through their Outdoor Living Nativity on Saturday, Dec. 4, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Hear the angels proclaim the Good News, and witness and follow the shepherds rushing to see the Newborn King, organizers say. Look upon the baby Jesus, born in the stable, surrounded by animals and Mary and Joseph. Enjoy the hauntingly beautiful sounds of Silent Night being sung, each note hanging in the night air. And sing along if you wish.
Trinity’s first Outdoor Living Nativity was held in 1998 and was a walk-up event, accompanied by other attractions in the church and in the church parking lot near the nativity. Over the years, the characters in the Outdoor Living Nativity have ranged in age to include children, youth, and adults. This year’s cast will be mostly adults, organizers say.
“Last year, because of COVID, we offered both a drive-through and walk-through option,” said Karen Krombholz, one of the event’s organizers. “We’ve decided that works best and gives us more room to expand upon the scene.” As such, they will continue with both options again for 2021.
The characters at each stage of the Christmas story will have an area for their scene, and luminarias will separate the walking areas from the lane of traffic for those driving through. Characters and narrators will tell the Christmas story through scripture, from the Gospel story according to Luke, Chapter 2.
Walkers will hear everything via outdoor speakers, and those driving through will be able to tune in to listen to the story and music unfold on their car radios. The electronic sign will tell drivers what channel they should tune their radios to.
Drivers should enter using the W. Main St. driveway and exit onto State St., organizers say. If they wish to park and walk through, they can park near the laundromat.
The story will be repeated in rotation, so attendees can come anytime and not miss out on the richness and fullness of the Christmas story.
Prior to 2020, Trinity also held a free soup meal in the church basement. This year they are setting up a tent outside, offering chili and chicken wild rice soup in individual takeout containers, as well as hot apple cider for attendees, Krombholz said. She invites drive-through visitors to stop as they exit onto State St. to pick up some free soup and/or cider.
In addition, Trinity’s Dorcas Group will hold a bake sale downstairs in the church, along with a few crafts, beginning at 3:00 p.m. until items are gone. Nativity scenes with removable stickers will be available for the children.
The miniature cow, sheep, and goat that will be a part of this year’s Outdoor Living Nativity are being provided by Kraft’s Kuddly Kritters Petting Zoo of Athens. “They are tame and people can pet them,” Krombholz said. That’s just one more opportunity for an interactive Christmas nativity experience, a part of the experience children are sure to love.
“With all of the preparations of Christmas – the food prep, the shopping, the baking – we all need to be reminded that the birth of Christ is why we are celebrating,” Krombholz said. “‘God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16’“
“… Now there were in the country, shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, the angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring great tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’” Luke 2