By Sue Rodman
A few years ago I decided we needed to do something that represented the real reason for Christmas, not just visiting Santa and riding the Pink Pig. So I set out to find one of the live nativities around Atlanta. It wasn’t as easy as you might think. Now I’ve heard of several. If you know of other places to see live nativities around Atlanta, please post a comment. Don’t forget to wear warm clothes. All of these activities are held outside and free unless otherwise noted.
Lake Lanier Islands Magical Nights of Lights
7000 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford, GA 30518
Date: Dec. 5-6, 2014
Info: Lake Lanier Island’s live nativity is part of the Magical Nights of Lights and is included in the daily admission. Admission is per vehicle and is based on what the vehicle has the capacity to hold, not the number of passengers.
Roswell United Methodist Church
814 Mimosa Blvd, Roswell, GA 30075 | (770) 993-6218
When: Dec. 5 2014 | 5 pm, 6 pm, or 7 pm
Info: Roam through a 1st century marketplace (open 5 – 7 pm), brought to life by costumed characters and real, stable animals. Share the excitement of shepherds, Roman soldiers, shopkeepers, and artisans, and witness the live production that tells the story of the very first Christmas. You must reserve your time slot, so make sure to plan ahead. Although this event is free, they are asking for donations of $10 per family.
St. John’s United Methodist Church
550 Mt. Paran Rd., NW, Atlanta, GA 30327 | (404) 255-1384
When: December 6-7, 2014 | 6 – 8 pm
Info: We been to this nativity several times and it’s quite elaborate. Take a walking journey along a torch lighted path to the ancient city of Bethlehem. Be prepared to “make your mark” for the census in order to enter the city gates, guarded by Roman soldiers. Inside is a bustling street, lined with stalls full of bread, drinks, and herbs for sale. Watch as a blacksmith finishes refining a sword for a soldier, or listen as school children learn Hebrew and recite stories. A fortune teller picks stones and holds them to the light to tell the future. There is a place to hitch the camels before entering the palace of King Herod which is guarded by more soldiers. The sound of angels singing brings guests outside the city. Out of the hustle and bustle, there is a barn with Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. The couples donkey is hitched close by and the three kings wait patiently for their que to bring the gifts.
Mountain View United Methodist Church – Bethlehem Walk
2300 Jamerson Road, Marietta, Georgia 30066, United States | 770-928-0050
Date: Dec. 6 & 7 and Dec. 12 & 13, 2014 | 7 – 9 pm
Info: Experience the sights and sounds of the City of Bethlehem on the night Jesus was born! The shops, the townspeople, the census takers, the Roman Soldiers, all going about their business while an unnoticed miracle takes place in a small corner of the city.
Snellville United Methodist Church
2428 Main St E, Snellville, GA 30078 | (770) 972-9360
Date: Dec. 6-6, 2014 | 6 – 8:30 pm
Info: Take a journey to Bethlehem accompanied by a family traveling to pay their taxes. Along the way, they’ll tell you the story of the birth of the Christ child. As you go, take part in an ancient marketplace where merchants peddle their wears (including live chickens), and storytellers pass down traditions. Try your hand at dipping candles, making dolls, or sample wears from local merchants. Witness Mary and Joseph traveling by donkey, Roman soldiers, the no-vacancy signs on all the inns, shepherds, sheep, goats, angels, Wisemen traveling by Camel (there is a live camel along with the other animals) and even a tax collector.
Peachtree Lutheran Church
3686 Peachtree Road N.E., Atlanta, GA 30319 | 404-233-7031
Date: Dec. 12-14, 2014, 7 – 9 pm
Info: In addition to the normal cast, see (and pet) live goats, sheep, donkeys and doves. The church bills this as Atlanta’s Oldest Living Nativity.
Sardis United Methodist Church
3725 Powers Ferry Rd., Atlanta, GA 30342
Date: Sat., Dec. 13 & 14, 2014 | 6 – 8 pm
Info: This is a great, laid back production complete with camels, goats, and a furry bunny. There are straw seats in front of the stable and after the production, you can pet the animals then go into the beautiful church for homemade cookies and hot cider.
Clairmont Hills Baptist Church
1995 Clairmont Rd, Decatur, GA 30033 | (404) 634-6231
Date: Dec. 12-14, 2014 | 7 – 9 pm (Dec. 14 it opens at 6 pm)
Info: The Living Nativity has been a tradition at Clairmont Hills Baptist for twenty years. Come and experience the events that surround the birth of our Savior. From the comfort of your car, drive through twelve scenes that tell the story of God’s plan in sending Jesus.
Simpsonwood United Methodist Church
4500 Jones Bridge Cir, Norcross, GA 30092 | (770) 441-2181
Date: Dec. 13 & 15, 2013 | 7 – 9 pm, (Dec. 15 6 – 8 pm)
Info: Hundreds of candle lights line the path to the Walls of Bethlehem. Roman guards, shopkeepers and merchants pin costume are in the streets. Care has been taken to ensure that the good in each shop are realistic. See live farm animals, a camel, shepherds, angels and Wise Men during your visit.
Life Church Smyrna Assembly of God
4100 King Springs Rd., Smyrna, GA 30082 | (770) 435-5478
Date: Dec. 21, 2013 | 6 – 8 pm
Info: Experience the sights, sounds and tastes of Christmas! You will see a Live Nativity, hear Carolers singing traditional Christmas Carols and taste Free Hot Chocolate and Free Candy Canes from the Christmas Candy Cane Lane. Load up your car with friends and neighbors and enjoy this special time all from the comfort of your car!
Chamblee First United Methodist Church
4147 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd., Chamblee, GA 30341 | 770-457-2525
Date: Dec. 14, 2014 | 7 – 8 pm
Info: The Live Nativity is on the hill at the activities building behind the church. Children are allowed to pet the animals before and after the presentation, and the actors will wear Biblical costumes. A carol choir sings all of the familiar carols as the story unfolds through music and narration. All are welcomed to cookies and hot chocolate in the Fellowship Hall following the drama.
Rock Spring Presbyterian Church
1824 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta, GA 30324 | (404) 875-7483
Date: Dec. 22 – 24, 2014
Info: Since 1954, the Live Nativity Scene has been held each evening from December 22 to 24 in front of the church as Rock Spring Presbyterian’s way of celebrating the birth of Christ with the community.