Ridgeview, Ridgewood to host live Nativity Tuesday

By ED HOWELL, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 12/10/17

Ridgeview Health Services and Ridgewood Health Services in Jasper plan to hold their annual Living Nativity scene on Tuesday starting at 6:30 p.m., with a new “street scene” activity that will allow guests to get a feel of being in a Bethlehem marketplace at the time of Jesus’ birth.

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Ridgeview, Ridgewood to host live Nativity Tuesday

Posted

Ridgeview Health Services and Ridgewood Health Services in Jasper plan to hold their annual Living Nativity scene on Tuesday starting at 6:30 p.m., with a new “street scene” activity that will allow guests to get a feel of being in a Bethlehem marketplace at the time of Jesus’ birth.

David Wallace, the chaplain with the health facilities, said the Live Nativity, which has been held the past six years, will be at the Ridgeview facility off Airport Road, at 903 11th St. NE.

The staff and their families become the characters of the Nativity story, which Wallace narrates. One can enjoy it outside, where seating will be set up, or they can see the performance and hear the narration through the car radio, in the comfort of their own vehicle.

“It is set up through a computer that feeds into a radio transmitter, and it really doesn't matter how cold it might be. You can come to our facility and sit in the comfort of your automobile and turn to the FM station that we have selected, which we will tell you what that is when you come in. You can then watch the story of Christmas unfold before you with the live characters and live animals, including a camel.”

Wallace said while the performances will be scheduled to repeat at half-hour intervals, in between visitors will also see something new: “A Street in Bethlehem,” where visitors will be invited to come back to Mary and Joseph’s day and interact with “businesses” on the street through various booths. Christmas music will be played throughout this area.

“We will have six booths set up,” he said. “On of them will be the Census Bureau because Mary and Joseph went down to be taxed and to be enrolled in a census. The Roman government required that be done every 14 years.”

A visitor will go to the census booth first, where one will add their name to the scroll to show you have been counted. You will then be given some “coins.”

Leaving there, one will go to the tax booth and will pay part of what you’ve been given to pay the annual tax bill. Then the visitor will proceed to the “shops,” which are different from each other.

“We have a pottery shop, and the people who come will be instructed to help make a Bible symbol. It may be a Bible symbol. It may be an angel. It may be a cross. We have air-dryer clay that will be used. We will have people manning the booth, showing how to do this.” One will be able to take the item with them.

At a wood shop, one will be given a packet for the stable and the animals in the stable, where the animals can be placed in the stable. They will also receive a star, representing the large star that shone in the night when the Christ child was born.

At another shop, one will see the gifts of the wise men who came to visit Jesus.

“We actually have ordered and have in place already gold and frankincense,” Wallace said. Each person will be given a plastic gold coin and a bag of frankincense and myrrh that has been mixed together.

At a “bakery,” each visitor will be given a bag of cookies as a treat as they head across the parking lot to the Nativity presentation, which is expected to last 12 to 15 minutes. Then the children are welcome to pet animals in the petting zoo in place.

The street scene could take about 20 minutes or so, depending on how much time they want to stay there and participate in the crafts.

“You could easily spend 45 minutes in all of it put together,” Wallace said.

With the Nativity and the street scene, he said about 30 to 40 people are expected to participate in the event. “All of this is free and all of it is a way to give back to the community from Ridgeview and Ridgewood Health Services, telling the people of Walker County, Winston County and the surrounding area how much we appreciate them in all they do. Our employees get to participate in it and enjoy being a part of the Christmas gift to the community,” he said.

Not only is this being sponsored for the benefit of the community and its children, “but our residents enjoy doing this and actually some of them participate.” He said all the costumes are provided to the participants.

“It is really a wonderful night and a wonderful experience,” Wallace said, noting families who have made it a part of their family tradition start to call the facilities in late November, asking if they will bring back the Live Nativity.

The event is designed so that it is accessible to people with physical limitations, he said. “We want to make it available to all our residents, whether they are ambulatory or confined and need to be moved around in a (wheel)chair,” he said.

A Street in Bethlehem will run from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m., while the Nativity changes every 30 minutes, with programs starting at 6:30 p.m. and repeating at 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Anyone wanting more information may call Ridgeview at 205-221-9111.