Walt's Look Around: Pelahatchie live nativity scene - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: Pelahatchie live nativity scene

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

Lots of churches have live nativity scenes this time of year. But not many offer a setting as old as the one at Shiloh Methodist in Pelahatchie.

The idea of having a live nativity scene at Christmas is to help people better visualize what things were like when Jesus was born. So when the folks at Shiloh Methodist in Pelahatchie decided to start doing a live nativity, they utilized an asset they have that very few other churches have, the rustic old cabins on their 180 year-old campground.

Normally the cabins (they call them ‘tents') are used during the summer for the annual camp meeting and revival. People leave home and come to the church and live in them for the whole time.

But over the past few years, the church has started dressing them up as old Bethlehem and using them again on Sunday night and Monday night of the second weekend of December. 

This was a unique idea to use the campground for this purpose," said Pastor Ron McDougal. "The church opened its arms and the tent-holders opened their arms to the idea of using this for this purpose and it's been a blessing for not only the community but for the church.

Church members play the parts of soldiers and children and Mary and Joseph and angels.

"You get to dress up and you get to do stuff," said one of the children.

"It's just a lot of fun," said a soldier. "The community gets together and just really enjoys coming together and glorifying God and giving something back to the community.

Live animals are used, too. Probably most unusual for this part of the country is the year-and-a-half-old camel named Frank that James and Toni Godby own.

"I wish I'd have gotten one years ago," said Toni. "He's cool.

"He's a lot of fun." said James. "It's like having a six-foot dog around the house.

According to the census taker, nearly a thousand people drove through Sunday night to get a look at wise men and ordinary citizens and the star and the angels, to see what it would have sort of maybe kind'a looked that night in Bethlehem. Liz Brazier and her two sons, Austin and Conner of Brandon liked it.

"We loved it," said Liz. "It was actually very impressive."

Live nativities are another tradition of Christmas, and this one is set among the tents and other buildings on another old tradition, the Shiloh Camp Ground. These old traditions getting together to help us just that much more get in touch with the season we are in right now. 

This year the live Nativity at Shiloh Methodist in Pelahatchie is the night of Saturday the 13 and Sunday the 14.

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