Living Nativity: Willow Park Church, Hwy 33

Every Christmas for 20 years Willow Park Church has produced an extraordinary  Christmas spectacle as a gift to the community.  It has grown to the point of serving 7000+ guests in recent years.

This was my first time.

Finding parking was pretty smooth.  And people were fairly jolly in the lineups.  We went into the church’s giant belly for some Christmas joy.

The first people that I talked with were the ushers.

They are pretty easy to find since they are all wearing red scarves.

Next I checked out the musician’s circle on the right of the stage on floor level.  You might see some familiar faces if you are fans of – let’s see….Cowboy Bob!

The big church was packed when the show started.  Curtis “Cowboy Bob” and his team of musicians scrolled through a legacy of sacred Christmas songs.  Most of the audience was humming along, recognizing pretty much every song.

Then the stage production began.  A pleasant narrator, some dancing angels (thank God not 4 yr olds, while cute as bug’s ears are also as boring as bug’s ears unless you know the bugs in question), the regular cast of Christmas persons : Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, John the Baptist (growing up strangely quickly and chronologically improbably), Joseph and everyone’s favorite virgin, Mary, some shepards and some wise men rounded out the traditional Christmas cast.  Then the pastor, also wearing a lovely red scarf, like the ushers (I always associate this kind of scarf with Ebeneezer Scrooge after his makeover), wished us all cups overflowing with eggnog and lights that light up properly which is a far cry more pleasant that a scolding over materialism and gluttony.  Thank you, “Philip”, as your mum would say….

Now, I have been to more than a few Christmas services in my day.  Generally, this is the point in the program where we all get into our cars and go home. Surprise!  In the lobby are living mannequins.  And they are all Victorian-y.  “Ooooooh, this is new”, I say to myself.

It goes like this:  Lobby, Victorian parlour (at least that’s what it seemed to me…at any rate, it is super pretty), then into the hub-bub of 2000 yrs ago Bethlehem – complete with an occupying army of interactive Romans and a few live chickens.  Finally, you find yourself back in the Victorian era (my how time flies) and you are eating cookies.

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Terrific night!  Great show.  Excellent opportunity for time travel. Warm Christmasy feeling – I can see why 7000 people pile in here every year.  Go for goodness sake!  It’s on for 2 more days.