Sleigh bells, holiday feasts and Santa Claus are common in households during the holiday season.
But several area churches are exploring Christmas' Biblical meaning - the birth of Christ - through live Nativities and Bethlehem scenes.
For the second year, members of Sharon Baptist Church in Appling will lead visitors on a hay ride through the life of Christ. The hayride through interactive scenes and hot chocolate is free and will be Thursday throughSunday from 7-9:30 p.m. at the Columbia County Fairgrounds on Columbia Road.
The ride begins with the birth of Christ, showing Mary and Joseph in a Nativity scene, and rolls through scenes depicting the fisherman who followed Christ, the story of the woman at the well, Christ's crucifixion and his resurrection, said Gloria Jean Kelly, a church spokeswoman. Church choirs also will perform.
"Most things stop with birth of Jesus," Kelley said. "We start with birth of Jesus and go through his life ... to show why celebrate his birth."
Last weekend, Martinez United Methodist Church held its portrayal of what Bethlehem might have been like the night Jesus was born.
Members of Marvin United Methodist Church are continuing their decadelong holiday tradition of re-enacting the birth of Christ. It will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday with a drive-through Nativity at the church at 4400 Wheeler Road.
"It is very well-attended, and people really seem to enjoy it," said the Rev. Alan Smith, church pastor. "It is to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. It is just something we like to give to the community every year."
Several scenes, featuring mostly church youth, include the angels talking to Mary; Joseph and Mary traveling to Bethlehem; the manger scene; and a watching angel floating above, Smith said. The event also includes live animals.
Marvin United's nativity and refreshments, including hot chocolate is free, but donations are accepted for the cost of the live animals.
Upcoming live nativity scenes in Columbia County:
Christ's Sanctified Holy Church of Evans
Where: 136 N. Belair Road
When: Today through Friday, 7-8:30 p.m.
What: Live Nativity scene
Sharon Baptist Church:
Where: Columbia County Fairgrounds on Columbia Road
When: Thursday through Sunday, 7-9:30 p.m.
What: Hay ride through Bethlehem scene, church choirs and hot chocolate
Marvin United Methodist Church
Where: 440 Wheeler Road
When: Friday and Saturday
What: Drive-through Nativity
Cost: Free, but donations accepted
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