Drive-through nativity begins Friday

For the 26th consecutive year, First Church of the Nazarene will give visitors a step-by-step account of the birth, life and death of Jesus — all from the comfort of their automobiles.FCN's annual Drive-Through Nativity, which annually draws thousands of visitors from across West Texas, will be held Friday through Sunday at the church, located at 1400 Lancaster.Event times are from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. each night. Admission is free, although donations (which go toward future Nativity expenses) will be accepted.The event will dramatize the life of Christ in more than 13 scenes with church members and other community residents playing the parts of shepherds, angels and other Christmas story characters. Pastor Calvary Callender said the cast and crew totals more than 100 people, plus live animals.“From my perspective, one of the most unique things about this is that it's been going on so long,” he said. “This is the 26th year it will be staged, and that, to me, says a lot about this church. It takes more than 100 people to put together the nativity. There's a lot more going on behind the scenes than people realize.”The nativity began in 1987 at the behest of former pastor Gary Smith. The first year's nativity featured only five scenes, but has grown steadily since then.And interest in the event has grown steadily over the year, becoming a Christmas tradition for people, not just from Big Spring, but from all over West Texas.Church officials said visitors from towns including San Angelo, Lubbock, Midland, Odessa and Sweetwater annually make the trek to Big Spring to view the nativity.“We average about 2,000 visitors each year,” Callender said. “But I think we might get even more this year — there seems to be a lot more interest, gauging from the phone calls I've received.”Drivers are advised to approach the church from the north. Visitors will be provided a CD or tape which will narrate each scene.For more information on the Drive-Thru Nativity, contact the church at 267-7015.