Outdoor Living Nativity brings Christmas story to life in Trinity

Free on-the-go soup and cider, bake sales and gifts for kids add to the holiday spirit

TINA L. SCOTT
EDITOR

What better brings the Christmas story to life than a living nativity scene with human figures and living animals? Trinity Lutheran Church, at the corner of W. Main and State Streets in Merrill, invites everyone to contemplate the true meaning of Christmas, walking through or walking through their open-air living nativity scene on Saturday, December 4 starting at 4:00 PM. at 7:00 p.m.

Hear the angels proclaim the Good News, and witness and follow the shepherds rushing to see the newborn king, organizers say. Look at the baby Jesus, born in the stable, surrounded by animals and Mary and Joseph. Enjoy the hauntingly beautiful sounds of sung Silent Night, each note suspended in the night air. And sing if you want.
Trinity’s first outdoor living nativity scene was held in 1998 and was a drop-in event, along with other attractions in the church and in the church parking lot near the nativity scene. Over the years, the characters in the outdoor living nativity scene have varied in age to include children, youth and adults. This year’s cast will be mostly adults, according to organizers.

“Last year, due to COVID, we offered both a drive-thru option and a pass-through option,” said Karen Krombholz, one of the event organizers. “We have decided that this works the best and gives us more space to develop on the stage.” As such, they will continue with both options for 2021.

The characters at each stage of the Christmas story will have an area for their scene, and light fixtures will separate the walking areas from the traffic lane for those walking there. Characters and narrators will tell the story of Christmas through the scriptures, starting from the gospel story according to Luke, chapter 2.

Walkers will hear everything through outdoor speakers, and those who drive can tune in to listen to the story and music play out on their car radios. The electronic panel will tell drivers which channel to tune their radio to.

Drivers should enter through W. Main St. alley and exit on State St., according to organizers. If they wish to park and cross, they can park near the laundromat.

The story will be repeated in rotation, so that participants can come at any time and not miss the richness and fullness of the Christmas story.

The shepherds go in search of the newborn king and pay homage to him on their knees, as part of the experience of the Living Nativity of Trinity. Photo submitted.

Prior to 2020, Trinity also hosted a free soup in the church’s basement. This year, they are setting up a tent outside, offering wild chili and chicken rice soup in individual take-out containers, as well as hot apple cider for attendees, Krombholz said. She invites visitors in cars to pull over when they exit State St. to purchase free soup and / or cider.

Additionally, Trinity’s Dorcas group will be having a bake sale downstairs in the church, along with some crafts, from 3:00 p.m. until the items are gone. Nurseries with removable stickers will be available for children.

The miniature cow, sheep and goat that will be part of this year’s outdoor living nativity scene are provided by Kraft’s Kuddly Kritters Athens Children’s Zoo. “They are tame and people can stroke them,” Krombholz said. This is just one more chance for an interactive Christmas crib experience, part of the experience kids are sure to love.

“With all the preparations for Christmas – the food preparation, the shopping, the cooking – we all need to remember that the birth of Christ is the reason we celebrate,” Krombholz said. “’God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 ‘”

“… Now there were shepherds living in the fields in the country, watching their flocks at night. And behold, the angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were very afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for, behold, I bring great news of great joy which will be for everyone. For there was born to you today in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of hosts praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest heavens, and peace on earth, good will towards men!” Luke 2