St. Teresa’s Episcopal Church’s 12th Annual Live Nativity Celebration on December 17th drew hundreds of visitors from the sprawling northwest Cobb Brookstone development and beyond.
The outdoor presentation has become a must-do Christmas event for families to see and hear the story of the Nativity complete with live animals and a narration of the Biblical story of the birth of Jesus.
It’s an event that sprang from a near tragedy. In 2011, a member of St. Teresa’s suffered a heart attack while swimming at the nearby YMCA. Thanks to the quick reaction and training of the lifeguard on duty, he was saved. Afterward he and his wife and other parishioners decided God’s divine hand was in the man’s rescue and recovery and wanted to find a way to give back. They came up with the idea of the “Live Nativity Celebration – A Gift to the Community.”
Each year members of the Live Nativity committee volunteer to write the script, figure out the music, make the many costumes, find a way to raise money for the event, and bake cookies to give out, said Nativity director Janie Watson.
“It is a way for us to give back to the community and we love doing it,” she said. “We all put our hearts and our souls into doing it and its our way of showing everybody what Christmas is.”
A few things have changed over the years, but Watson said it remains St. Teresa’s Gift to the Community and the parish’s way of celebrating the birth of Christ.
Many families come every year because it is such an important part of their Christmas tradition. Watson said the Nativity is a great volunteer opportunity for giving back and having fellowship with our community.
Brookstone resident Randy Martin said his family looks forward to the annual event.
“I think for the church it’s a great outreach,” Martin said as he and his wife, daughter and son warmed around the outdoor fire pit. “It gives more insight into the Biblical teachings of the birth of Christ, and I think it’s good for the community,” Martin said.
Hospitality organizer Rositha Blake said she and others who provided hot chocolate and cookies didn’t know what size crowd to expect due to public health concerns over this year’s surging Flu and lingering Covid-19 cases.
“We didn’t know what to expect, but it’s been a good crowd, so I can’t wait to see what the number is,” Blake said as visitors were being served in the church’s parish hall. The crowd, tallied at 580, certainly confirmed Blake’s assessment of the one-night event.
Parishioner Jessica Kirchner who welcomed each of the 580 guests as they arrived said that number doesn’t include “48 volunteers, six shows, two unruly goats, one boisterous camel, and a partridge in a pear tree.”
Learn more about St. Teresa’s at their website.