Sharon Baptist Church wanted to take their Christmas display one step further than the norm.
Mike Popplewell and Canden Jones, 7, portray Joseph and the boy Jesus in a carpenter's shop in a hayride showing the stages of Jesus' life.
Photo by Donnie Fetter
Sharon, a rural Southern Baptist church in Winfield, held a hayride that allowed visitors to see the life of Christ - from birth to resurrection - unfold through narration and re-enactments.
"My wife and I got the idea while we were driving to see some Christmas lights," said Andy Collins, youth director of Sharon. "We knew it was something we could do, but we wanted to take it a step further. We wanted people to be able to see Christ's entire life. We also wanted them to hear from the people in Christ's life to get a sense of what it was like."
The hayride took place over the weekend at a hayfield off Appling-Harlem Road, near the Interstate 20 exit.
Visitors traveled in a tractor-pulled trailer from scene to scene - 10 in all - as a narrator told the story of Jesus. As the group stopped at each scene, re-enactors told the riders their stories in character.
Scenes included Joseph and Mary holding baby Jesus in the manger, the Three Wise Men traveling down the road to find the infant Messiah, Peter denying Christ before the cock crows, a graphic crucifixion, and more.
Collins said that 150 people took the tour on opening night, followed by 155 visitors on the second evening. In the first hour of the final night of the hayride, they had received 80 visitors.
"We never considered just leaving it off with just the Christmas story," said Collins. "That's only a part of Jesus' life. We thought it was important for people to see Jesus' birth, but also to see His resurrection as well. His resurrection is what makes Him our savior."
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