Two Christmas-themed tours to celebrate Jesus’ life will be held this weekend in Harlem and Grovetown.
The annual Hayride Through the Life of Christ starts Thursday and continues each night until Sunday from 7-9 p.m. at the fairgrounds on Columbia Road.
Though held at Christmas time, the hayrides conducted by Sharon Baptist Church ferry passengers along a tour of scenes from the prophet Isaiah, to Bethlehem, to the crucifixion and the resurrection.
“We try to capture the entirety of the gospel long after the baby in the manger,” said Sharon Baptist pastor Andy Collins. “We want to put Christmas in the right perspective.”
In all, 12 scenes, ending with a testimony, will be performed by members of the church, which is located in Winfield.
Since the church started the 30-minute hayride “tours” eight years ago, Collins estimates 10,000 people have taken the ride. He hopes another 2,500 attend this week.
The hayrides, Collins said, give his church an “opportunity to plant the seed” for salvation.
“We once got a letter from a grandmother who took her grandchild to the hayride,” Collins said of the worthwhile nature of the event. “Then, out in the parking lot, she had the opportunity to lead her grandson to Christ.”
While the Sharon Baptist tour covers the life of Christ before, during and after his story, The Walk Through Bethlehem by Harlem Baptist and Methodist churches focuses on the night of Jesus’ birth.
Held 6-9 p.m. Friday through Sunday in the field between the churches on Milledgeville Road, tour guides lead a group of about 10 people on a 15-minute walking visit to various shops in Bethlehem.
Tour guides speak to shopkeepers about the wondrous happenings in their little village the night Christ was born, said tour guide Joy McKettrick.
“Everything points the group toward the stable where Joseph and Mary had to stay,” she said.
The tour starts in the Harlem Baptist sanctuary and ends in the fellowship hall of Harlem Methodist for refreshments.
“This is our way to tell the world about the true meaning of Christmas,” McKettrick said.
Both events are free to attend and refreshments will be available.