A trip to the Holy Land would be a fascinating way to experience the holidays. But for the majority of us who can't afford to make that trip, the Holy Land is coming to us.
Bethany United Methodist Church at 118 West 3rd South St., near Azalea Park in Summerville, is presenting its annual "Living Christmas Story" drive-through experience Dec. 6-8. Traffic will be rerouted along a new route this year, said Bob Lesch, Living Christmas Story steering committee chairperson.
The event, "often described as beautiful and moving," will take place from 6:30 to 9:30 each night, Lesch said.
He said the Living Christmas Story has been witnessed by thousands of visitors over the years. The presentation features 17 scenes, viewed from vehicles edging up a candle-lit drive that winds through the Bethany parking lot.
Visitors see the angel Gabriel talking with Mary; the holy family traveling to Bethlehem; King Herod on his throne; and angels sharing the news of Christ's birth with the shepherds in the field, he said.
On the other side of Bethlehem's city gate, visitors watch blacksmiths, carpenters and potters in a bustling market scene. "There are centurions on horseback, fishermen mending their nets, and, most importantly, baby Jesus resting in a manger," Lesch said.
There is no fee to drive through the biblical re-enactment. Cars and vans will be directed through the pageant.
Lesch said traffic will enter the line to the event from West 5th South Street, off of South Main Street. From there, motorists will turn right onto Sumter Avenue, then right onto South Laurel Street, at St. John's Catholic Church; right onto Central Avenue, at Summerville Presbyterian Church; and right onto West 3rd South Street.
The Living Christmas Story is a labor of love for Bethany members, who regard it as the church's gift to the people of the Lowcountry, Lesch said.
He said last year's props had barely been boxed away when church members began planning and coordinating this year's event. From costumes to construction to props and lighting, every detail has been carefully plotted to ensure that the Christmas story comes to life.
This year, more than 200 people are lending their time and talents to the pageant.
For more information, call 873-1230.