Three churches will present tours and nativity scenes this week to celebrate the birth and life of Jesus.
The 10th annual Hayride Through the Life of Christ is open 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13,through Dec. 16 at the Columbia County Merchants Association Fairgrounds on Columbia Road.
The hayride, presented by Sharon Baptist Church, will take visitors on a tour of 13 scenes from Jesus’ life and includes Biblical characters such as Zebedee, Mary and Martha. It also includes scenes of Bethlehem, Christ’s birth, crucifixion and resurrection, according to the Rev. Andy Collins.
“They’ll experience the crucifixion,” Collins said, adding that the scene includes a liftable cross. “That’s pretty big for (visitors). That’s one way to visually see just some of what Christ experienced for us.”
Collins said it takes the entire church family to put on what they consider a Christmas gift to the community. He expects more than 2,000 people will visit.
The tour and hot chocolate are free. It is made possible by the Merchants Association of Columbia County and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office ATV Unit, Collins said.
“We really just want people to come out so we can share with them that salvation is also free,” Collins said.
Martinez United Meth-odist Church is presenting its Bethlehem Village after a three-year hiatus. The village is at the church at 3614 Washington Road, Martinez.
The village depicts what Bethlehem might have been like the night of Jesus’ birth, said Mary Snyder, event publicity chairwoman.
From 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15 and Dec. 16, church members will take roles as shepherds, Roman soldiers and shopkeepers and give working demonstrations at candle, leather, cloth and pottery shops, Snyder said. The manger scene will feature Mary, Joseph and a live baby portraying Jesus.
“There is no cost,” Snyder said, “but if people want to bring canned goods for the needy, we’ll take that up.”
Bellevue Baptist Church in Grovetown also is recreating the night of Christ’s birth with a live nativity scene Friday, Dec. 14 through Dec. 16 at Steed’s Dairy.
“We have people dressed up in costume portraying the nativity scene,” the Rev. Brian Martin said, adding that the nativity will feature live animals.
The nativity is free and is held at the dairy at 4634 Wrightsboro Road near Grovetown.
“On Sunday, we’ll have a Christmas service in the barn,” Martin said. “I’ll preach a Christmas message to anybody who wants to come.”
Refreshments will be available for donations.