The Nativity at Calvary Baptist Church looks beyond Jesus' birth.
It includes a scene from his growing up years, his adult life, his death and resurrection.
"We decided the story of Christ is more than just the manger; why not show the whole thing," said Barry Brown, director of the walk-through Nativity. In its 13th year at Calvary Baptist, 810 Ruskin Drive, the 11-scene outdoor program will be staged from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 4 and 5.
(Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec) The innkeeper in Bethlehem, played by Paul Carnell of Hollidaysburg tells Mary, played by Tresa Worrell of Gallitzin, and Joseph, portrayed by Tyler Smith of Altoona, that he has no more rooms and they will have to sleep in the stable. The scene is from the 2008 live Nativity presented by Calvary Baptist Church, Ruskin Drive. This year’s production is Dec. 4 and 5.
The free tours begin in the church auditorium where people are divided into groups of about 25 to follow a guide on the handicapped-accessible tour. After the tour, visitors return to the church for hot chocolate and cookies.
The scenes are lifelike with people from the church portraying the Bible characters in each scene.
"It begins at the manger," Brown said. "We have lambs, goats and hopefully this year a little calf." Animals for the live Nativity are on loan from a farm in Williamsburg.
"The manger scene is a favorite of children," Brown said. "They love petting the animals."
Brown said the live Nativity is important for two reasons.
"It gets the gospel message out to the community, the message of why Christ came. That's why we feel the cross [stage nine] is the most important scene," he said. "Also, it helps the church, gets everyone involved and working together on a project."
About 100 members or attendees of Calvary Baptist are involved with the production and the public returns to witness their work year after year.
The event drew about 700 visitors last year.
"We have many first-time people, and a lot of people who come back year after year," Brown said.
The idea of the live Nativity was started by Debbi Tini and her husband, Michael, about 12 years ago.
Debbie Tini said they spent a Christmas season visiting Nativities, including traveling to DuBois to gather ideas. Along with Cindy Kimmel, who was instrumental in the artistic aspects of the Nativity, they put Calvary Baptist Church's first program together the next year.
Through the years, the Tinis' two sons have taken part in different scenes.
"It's been fun to watch my children from the time they've been wee little to older taking part," Debbie Tini said.
She said the multigenerational aspect of the event is special, noting that there have been children as young as 5 and 6 participating, as well as an 80-year-old man who played the innkeeper for many years.
Debbi Tini said the live Nativity always garners a wonderful response from visitors.
"We've had as many as 1,600 people come through over the two nights," she said. "It's one of my favorite events of the church."