Nativity scenes, with art that represents the birth of Jesus, are iconic at Christmastime. Essential ele-ments include shepherds, animals, the Magi or Wise Men, all crowded around a manger or barn with a fo-cus on the Holy Family: Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus. Other figures include angels and a bright star.
Living Nativity scenes feature humans and animals that are alive, grounding them in reality. It’s said that St. Francis first conceived this presentation in the 1200s, when he was inspired by a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to see the actual environment of Jesus’s birth.
Following are some of the Living Nativity scenes in nearby hometowns Usually supervised children can pet the animals.
• Chamblee First United Methodist Church, 4147 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd. Chamblee 30341. Dec. 10, 7-8 pm. Located behind the church. Christmas carols sung.
• Clairmont Hills Baptist Church, 1995 Clairmont Rd. Decatur, 30033. Dec. 8, 9, 10, 7-9 pm. A 20-year tradition. Has some drive-through scenes.
• Peachtree Lutheran Church, 3686 Peachtree Rd. Atlanta (Buckhead) 30319, Dec. 8-10, 7-9 pm. It’s billed as Atlanta’s oldest Living Nativity scene, and animals include goats, donkeys and doves.
• Simpsonwood United Methodist Church Walk Through Bethlehem, 4500 Jones Bridge Circle, Nor-cross, 30092. Dec. 8-9, 7-9 pm. Hundreds of lights line city walls with Roman guards. Animals include a camel.
• St. Mark Lutheran Church, 2110 Brockett Rd. Tucker 30084. Dec. 9-10, 6-8 pm. Covers story from Caesar’s decree to Wise Men arrival. Hot chocolate.
-Dr. Paul Hudson