Drive through live nativity offers COVID-safe Christmas cheer

By Aubrey Turner
For the Prosper Press
Mary and Joseph sit together at the live nativity hosted by The Church of Latter Day Saints in Prosper.

The Prosper congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints offered a drive through live Nativity reenactment on Saturday, December 12th at Frontier Park.  The congregation has presented the Nativity in a similar format in years past but adjusted the presentation to be a Covid-safe event for 2020. 

Natalie Camp explained the process of planning the event this year, accounting for the pandemic.  “Normally it is an event in which you sit down, enjoy the Nativity story with your family,” Natalie Camp said.  “But this year we needed to change it to make sure everyone is safe.  We started planning meetings in October.  As you drive through, you can enjoy different scenes as you can see Mary and Joseph going to Bethlehem.  We have the Christsmas story from the Book of Luke on the website so that you can hear the story.  We have these little Nativity activities for little kids to keep them busy as their parents enjoy the story as well.”  

Many members took part in the event, from sets and costumes, to greeting visitors and passing out candy canes.  Teenagers Drew Thornton and Preston Camp prepared the baskets for the greeters.  “This Nativity is important to us and our families,” Camp said.  “We believe in Jesus Christ and His birth, so we want to share this story with the world.” “We have been helping with this event every year since it began,” Thornton said.  “It is something our families do together.”  

“The organizers ask all of us to participate,” Thornton said.  “We all have different roles to make this work.  It is important for us to work together because it is such a big event.” Preston Camp said,  “It can be a lot of fun experience, hanging out and sharing the story of Jesus’ birth.” 

“Our goal is to bring the Spirit of Christ to the community of Prosper,” Ken Dewitt said.  “I have done this since the beginning.  I have been a shepherd each year.  It is great, we get to see a story that Ithink has been lost.  How many times do you think people see the story of Christmas?”

Dan Kanzler played one of the shepherds.  “It is a way to reach out to the community,” Kanzler said.  “It was a seven or eight minute program in the pavilion in the park.  But this time we were not able to be so personal.  But we hope that people will take the time to really be still and reflect on the season.”

There have been some challenges in adjusting the Nativity for the drive through experience.  The number of pieces for the set were increased and Laura Dewitt created animals for each vignette.  “We do not have the audio cues for when to move,” Ken Dewitt said.  “We had to rethink how to tell the story in these scenes.  People have worked so hard to create this event and we hope the community gets to feel the real Christmas spirit here.”  

“We try to stay as true to the King James version of the story of Jesus’ birth as we can,” Dewitt said.  “We really work hard to present things in a clear way.  It is a fun way parents can teach their children about Christmas.” 

“We are so thankful to the town of Prosper for granting us this permit,” Dewitt said.  “It feels like this event is becoming part of the community tradition.”