PIctured here is a scene from a past nativity pageant. Photo submitted

PIctured here is a scene from a past nativity pageant. Photo submitted

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints presents live Nativity Pageant

Enjoy a community Christmas tradition via the live Nativity Pageant put on by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

The pageant runs Dec. 15-17 at 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The church is located at 4049 – 63 Ave. (across from the airport).

Rachel Wilson, one of the event’s organizers, said other highlights include heartwarming music, a lovely indoor ornamental Creche display, free desserts, hot chocolate, and homemade apple cider to warm up audiences as well.

”The Lacombe ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been holding the live nativity pageant and creche display as a community service for 20-plus years,” she said.

“Like anything that stands the test of time, it’s grown and evolved over the years into what it is now. But it began as a deep desire to serve the Lord, and to share His birth and the love He has for each of us with others,” she said.

As noted there are four performances each evening – one starting every half hour – with the first at 6:30 p.m. and the last one at 8 p.m.

“The traditional Christmas story is told while volunteer actors become those figures we have grown to know so well,” she explained. “There are live animals and a small set, while the audience members sit on bales of straw.

“Narration guides us as we witness the trek of the holy family finding their way beyond those who have ‘no room’,” said Wilson.

Shepherds then arrive to welcome the Christ child while in the heavens a new star appears guiding wise men from the east.

“The performance culminates in the chorus of praises to He who was born so long ago and yet whose significance is still as important as it ever was.”

After each performance, audience members are encouraged to venture indoors for warm beverages and treats. They can also check out more than 100 Nativity (or Creche) displays from all over the world, donated for the event’s duration by community members.

“It truly is magical.”

Wilson said the annual event has been very well-received by the community.

“We have many who make our event part of their family’s Christmas tradition each year. It is wonderful to see them all, and we are humbled to be a part of their Christmases.”

Wilson said that on a personal note, she loves to see the event as a safe place where, “The worries of the world can take a back seat and we can just focus on Jesus Christ – to remember who He is, and why He came.”

Ultimately, she also describes the pageant as a labor of love made possible through many hours of time and resources.

“Preparation begins weeks in advance with printing and advertising, and there are always a million calls to make to finalize cast members, to gather the needed animals, and to test the electronic components,” she explained.

”Once the prep is done, it takes about four days with many volunteers both inside and outside to set up all the displays, backdrops and lighting for a successful run. Of course, having live animals in our cast and being at the mercy of the weather keeps us on our toes.

“However it has always been our blessing to be able to work with individuals within our community: everything from the lending of animals for our live performances to those who donate time for set-up, serve in the kitchen, or make treats,” she added.

”It is impossible to think of where this performance would be without so many helping hands.”

Wilson has been a part of the event for more than a decade.

“I have to say that one of the most special parts for me is watching my family grow through the cast – my now 18-year-old son started in the pageant when he was maybe six as the innkeeper’s son. As he grew, so did his roles – shepherds and then angels.

“This year he has graduated to the role of a wise man,” she said. “I hope that one day he’ll bring his own ‘Mary’ and we’ll come full circle in this glorious tradition that has been such a special part of our lives.”

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