Christmas is getting closer, and as it does Central Missionary Baptist Church is putting together its “Christmas in Bethlehem” drive-thru nativity.

The drive-thru nativity was started by former youth and music minister Kelvin Richardson and has been an ongoing tradition since 1987. What started with ten people who made up a nativity scene with a few shepherds and an angel has become a piece of biblical art.

Today the drive thru nativity scene is a true production made up of 100 people beginning with the wise men and a choir, taking visitors through the streets of Bethlehem, including the manger scene, and ending with the empty tomb, cross, and ascension to heaven. The scene on Bethlehem’s streets is astonishing, taking people back to how it might have really been in the time of Jesus. There are vendors, shoppers, and even live animals at times.

It takes everyone working as a team to put it together. “The entire church is involved in it,” says church member Barbara Haddox. They want to share the Christmas story with the community through drama and song. “It’s our way of starting the Christmas season and showing what it would have been like back then,” says Coordinator Gale Gregory

The “Christmas in Bethlehem” drive-thru nativity will be open on Saturday, December 9, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 10, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Central Missionary Baptist Church looks forward to sharing the true reason for the season with the community.