Spirit of Christmas found in living nativity
Jean Moore believes Vinland's Living Nativity continues to attract hundreds of people after nearly 30 years because instead of becoming commercialized, it has remained true to the Christmas spirit.
Moore said the annual manger scene, which depicts the night Christ was born, helps remind people what the holiday represents.
"We try to help people relive it," she said. "It helps them understand the real meaning of Christmas."
She said she expects people to once again seek that Christmas spirit this year and visit Vinland United Methodist Church's 28th annual living nativity.
"So they can just get in to the Christmas mood," she said.
The nativity will run from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 21-23 at the Vinland Fairgrounds, located four miles north of Baldwin and 1/4 mile east of the Douglas County road 1055 and 460 intersection.
There is no admission, but a free will donation will be taken and, as in past years, proceeds will go to Youthville, a troubled youth organization sponsored by the United Methodist Church.
Moore, who is coordinating the nativity, said the manger scene will again have volunteers playing the parts of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. Families with babies younger than six months will fill the roles of the holy family in 30-minute shifts.
"In 28 years, we've had a lot of babies go through the scene for us," she said.
The nativity will also feature a variety of live farm animals, she said, to help add to the manger scene's authenticity.
Though the nativity scene has remained the same through the years, Moore said, people continue to return with family.
"A lot of it is family tradition," she said. "Some of them are bringing their grandchildren now."
But for others, she said, it's more than a family tradition.
"It gives them some hope that the true meaning of Christmas is still there," she said. "It strengthens their faith."