WALNUT — A story that is as old as the ages will be on display at the Walnut Community Bible Church this weekend. The Rev. Eldon Cook of the church noted that it is something that God has put in his heart for he and his congregation to do for the community.
“Its a drive through live nativity in our church parking lot,” Cook said. “It is totally free to the public.”
On display will be different scenes from the Biblical story of the nativity all acted out by members of the church parish. People will see the wisemen in their travels to the manger with the shepherds and angels out in the field. Then there will be a cave like setting that church members built similar to the traditional barn where Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus will be. People are encouraged to either walk through or drive by each scene.
Each night there will be at least 14 parishioners who will be playing one hour shifts in each display. Behind the scenes there will be support staff of over 50 members of the parish that have made treats for each car that comes through as long as they last each night as well as those who have worked to set up the displays according to Cook.
“Each car that comes in will get cups of hot chocolate, baggies of M & Ms and a plate of cookies,” Cook said.
The church is also counting on other parishioners that can step in if the weather becomes too much for participants to handle.
Along with the animals that one would expect to see in these settings like cows, donkey and goats is a unique addition this year: Carmel the camel from Boggio’s Orchard in Granville. Cook has been working with Carmel for the past few months getting him ready to participate. He drove back and forth to Granville three to four times a week working with Carmel and hoping to add him to the event..
“I’ve been having him stand by Illinois Route 71, (where Boggios is located) hoping to get him used to the lights and car noises,” Cook said.
Cook hopes that those who visit the event will come away with a deeper meaning of Christmas.
“We just want people to remember and know about Jesus and why we are really celebrating the season,” he said. “We want this event to be glorifying to God.”
The live nativity event will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in the Walnut Community Bible Church parking lot, 125 Jackson St. in Walnut. Signs will be posted for those who need directions to the church.
“It is our gift to the community and the area,” Cook said.