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Big year for Cumberland Presbyterian Church nativity scene

Jacob Smith • Dec 18, 2017 at 4:54 PM

About 500 cars came through this year’s Lebanon Cumberland Presbyterian Church drive through nativity scene, according to event coordinator Jessica Templeton.

The event at the corner of Leeville Pike and Castle Heights Avenue was open Friday and Saturday from 7-9 p.m. and free to anyone who wanted to drive through.

“Attendance was definitely up this year,” said Templeton. “I wouldn’t say that it was a dramatic increase, but there were definitely more people than we’ve had. We tried to do more advertising this year, so maybe that contributed to it.”

What began as a single manger scene more than 40 years ago now includes 10 scenes around 150 actors who take shifts and live animals, including camels, donkeys, sheep and oxen.

“If you have lived in Lebanon for any length of time and love the celebration of Christmas, you are probably familiar with the event named Journey to Bethlehem,” said Beth Petty, an organizer. “Journey to Bethlehem is a ministry of the Lebanon Cumberland Presbyterian Church that had its beginnings more than 40 years ago. It is a drive-through live nativity in which you are invited to take time from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. Each year, the congregation comes together to tell the story of Christmas by displaying 10 scenes that depict the events surrounding the birth of Jesus.”

At the end of the show Saturday night, a team of workers came out, took everything down and put it all into storage pit-crew style.

“By Sunday morning, you would have never known it was there,” said Templeton. “They did a great job.”

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