Living nativity set for this weekend in Carson City |

Living nativity set for this weekend in Carson City

By Kimberly Ponczoch

It was a year of uncertainty. A year when we felt a need for something more. A need for peace. It was a year that felt similar to 2020. It was 2001. The year that we watched the airplanes crash into the Twin Towers. The year we felt hopeless and confused and a desire to connect with people and with God.

Seeing that need, the Carson City First United Methodist Church began what has become one of the most cherished Christmas traditions in Carson City.

The Living Nativity – The Road to Bethlehem, is a labor of love. It takes around 200 people each year to pull off the two-night event. There are sets to be constructed, costumes to be organized, mended, and assigned, over 800 luminarias to be filled, animals to consider, signs to be made, and traffic to be guided.

Christie James, a member of the First United Methodist Church, has been the director of the Living Nativity since the beginning.

“Each year there is something different,” she said. “We used to put up a three-story palace for Herod, but it blew down and broke… twice! Animals are always part of the event. We used to have camels… but they moved to Missouri. One year the camels got away and we had to chase them down the street, shepherd’s robes flying behind. Another year, the sheep got away and we had to do the same thing.”

This year there are a few changes due to COVID. Each of the people depicting someone from the Road to Bethlehem will be social distancing when not with family members, as well as wearing a face covering. Other years, community members have had the choice of the drive-through or walking on the sidewalks. This year only the drive-through will be offered.

Most things will look the same as in previous years. There will be a cow, donkeys, and sheep. The angels will be singing, the shepherds will be looking after their sheep, and we will follow Mary and Joseph on the Road to Bethlehem.

Not only is the Living Nativity a wonderful event to feel the true spirit of Christmas, it’s also a great way to give as the wise men gave. Many in our community are suffering, some financially. Non-perishable items are collected for FISH each year, and a truckload of food is dropped off to help feed our neighbors.

This coming weekend is when this exciting event is happening. Please join us from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 12-13.

The Living Nativity has been bringing peace to our community for 19 years. We are grateful that in this year, when most things have been canceled, the Living Nativity and the story of the birth of Jesus live on.