A scene from Bethlehem appeared in downtown Battle Creek over the weekend. Construction crews were busy Saturday, preparing for the 29th Annual Living Nativity that will be taking place, beginning Friday, December 9 through Sunday, December 11,  at Commerce Point, located on East Michigan Avenue near the Battle Creek City Hall.

The Birth of Jesus Christ will be recreated in this impressive performance that includes close to 50 actors, in costume, from the community. There will be six performances each evening, beginning at 6 p.m. and every half hour following, with the last performance beginning at 8:30 p.m.

Doug Stanton and his wife, Rhonda, have been involved with the Living Nativity for over 25 years and say the experience of being involved in the production is very rewarding. Doug Stanton says,

What we have experienced, in the short time of that 14-minute musical, is the powerfulness of what we leave people with. It’s so exciting.

A narrator walks the audience through the story of the Birth of Jesus Christ, who was born in poverty in a manger located in Bethlehem, over 2,000 years ago, and chances are you may recognize a few of the cast members. It may be your physician, a prominent member of the community, or perhaps your next-door neighbor.

Sometimes even Santa Claus may be seen playing the role of a shepherd. In earlier years live animals were part of the short musical, but the attention to the animals became so overwhelming with people wanting to feed the animals and take selfies, that organizers decided to stick with around 30 “stationary” sheep that are put into use each year.

Heated bales of straw are provided and a few blankets are available to lay on the laps of spectators to help keep them warm.

A number of businesses help sponsor this free event each year. This year the list includes the following:

  • Hoffman Brothers Construction
  • Battle Creek Toyota
  • CityLinc Ministries
  • Back Machine Shop
  • West Dickman Storage
  • Allegra Printing
  • Family Fare
  • Meijer
  • Continental Deli & Bakery
  • Biggby Coffee
  • Starbucks
  • Steve's Pizza
  • Pennfield Pizza
  • Subway – Pennfield
  • Schlotzsky's
  • Horrocks

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