Lisa Peters joined Willow Park Church when she was 15 years old.
A couple years later, the church conducted its first living nativity.
Peters is now 44 years old, and she continues to be part of the experience that puts a little light into the lives of those who attend each December. And really, couldn’t we all use a little more light in our lives these days?
Willow Park will be providing that beacon when it conducts “Living Nativity: Worship the King” from Dec. 17-19. The service will be a little more in-person than it was last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it will not be all the way back to normal.
“I love two things about it,” Peters says. “I love how it brings the Willow Park community and the people who put it on together. It is a gift to us to serve. These last couple weeks, with the evacuations, you see these people coming in because they want to serve. Living Nativity has the same feel. It is an honour and a blessing to be a part of that.
“The second thing is the joy it brings to the community. When I’ve served as a host or greeter, they come from as far away as Lumby and beyond. They never want to miss it. It becomes a tradition in their family.”
Under non-pandemic circumstances, the living nativity is an interactive, three-part series that includes a large group of people in close proximity. That obviously cannot take place this year due to provincial health guidelines, so this year’s event will be available both in-person and online.
The nativity scenes will be woven into music and carols during each service, which will take place in Willow Park’s main auditorium at 439 Hwy 33, and drinks will be served outside the church afterwards.
The in-person service times are at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 17, 3:30, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18, and 10:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 19. Those who want to attend in person must register here. The 10:30 a.m. service on Sunday will be available online through Church Online, Facebook and YouTube.
And this year will beat last year, when people had to sit in their vehicles and listen to songs on the radio due to the pandemic.
“It will still be special,” Peters says. “We’ll still tell the beautiful Christmas story known for amazing singing and carols. There will be a choir and the worship band.
“It will be beautiful and sound beautiful. It will just be a little different.”
The service has come a long way since the early days, when Peters remembers dancing in a parking lot on Highway 33 around fires in tin garbage cans. She has played every role possible in the service, including parking attendant, first aid attendance, actor, mannequin and cookie server.
“It takes many hands to put on the Living Nativity,” she says.
And her role this year? That will be a secret up until the first show, but all that matters to her is that she will be there, surrounded by people from her community.
“We hope it puts a smile on their face and gives them a wonderful feeling of hope and joy,” Peters says. “We need it now.”
This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.