The start of Advent means it’s time for live Nativities, being offered in area communities throughout the Christmas season.

Be Local means taking in these amazing displays that involve many volunteers and are a gentle expression of the holiday’s religious aspect.

“It’s the perfect opportunity to remind families of the true meaning of Christmas,’’ commented Mary Over, Mount Macrina Manor, North Union Township.

“It’s a way we can spread the meaning of Christmas, telling the story of the birth of Jesus,’’ noted Patricia Herring, Pleasant View Presbyterian Church, Smock.

“We remind everyone what happened that first Christmas, that Jesus is the reason for the season,’’ said Jenn Dompier, First Baptist, Fairchance.

Dana Krofcheck, Connellsville Area Community Ministries, explained, “With all the hustle and bustle of commercial Christmas, we forget that Christmas brings peace and love to the world through Jesus Christ.’’

Some Nativities receive help from the community while all find people who incorporate them into their holiday celebrations.

“Connellsville Area Community Ministries is honored to host a live Nativity with Project Talent as actors create a Nativity for all ages,’’ commented Krotcheck, who reported the Nativity will be 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Dec. 7, 14 and 21 with the manger open into the store.

Pleasant View is hosting a live Nativity 6-8 p.m. Dec. 14-15, that begins at the church and includes a walking tour of Bethlehem with a street market, Nativity setting and live animals.

“Other churches and the community participate and we couldn’t do it without them,’’ said Herring, noting, “I know some people look at it as part of their annual Christmas tradition because we have people come year after year.’’

First Baptist is hosting its live Nativity from 6 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 21.

“The love that’s put into it is amazing,’’ said Dompier. “The volunteers are standing in the cold for hours. It’s amazing to see people come together to make it happen. And it allows us to show we’re a part of the community.’’

Mount Macrina Manor and Sisters of St. Basil offer a drive-through Nativity on the Mount St. Macrina grounds 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 15 with live animals and Christmas carols sung by the Sisters, St. George Maronite Youth Organization and Anchor Fellowship Church while angels pass out candy canes and 500 luminaries line the driveway.

“The community continues to look forward to our event year after year as do our residents and staff,’’ noted Over. “I see a lot of the same community members attend each year. It has become a tradition for many.’’

Over added the drive-through event makes it convenient for the elderly and small children to attend: “It is a simple way for them to enjoy the beauty of the season with their families.’’

Each live Nativity – and there are many throughout the region – is unique.

“They’re all different. If you like, you can go to more than one,’’ noted Herring. “Ours is interactive because we have a marketplace. They go on a journey and it’s outside. Some offer a vignette or display. There are all different types of presentations, which is nice.’’

But they share a common message.

“It’s all to bring peace and love,’’ said Kroftcheck, “just as Jesus asks us to do.’’

Those interested in joining the Be Local Network can call 724-425-7515 or email swallach@heraldstandard.com. Discount cards are available at the Herald-Standard, 8 E. Church St., Uniontown, and at the Greene County Messenger, 32 Church St., Waynesburg.

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