The Meridian Star
By Brian Livingston
The birth of Christ is a story that has been told for thousands of years but beginning this evening, people in Meridian, Lauderdale County and the surrounding area will be able to watch as the story unfolds in front of them.
For the fifth year, First Assembly of Meridian will play out the story of Jesus' birth. More than 100 live actors, along with live animals, will make up the six-scene enactment that ends with the night of Christ's birth.
"It is the whole story of Christmas," said Jason Dyess, one of the organizers of the tour that will begin tonight at 6 p.m. at the church located at 1929 Highway 19 North. "Those who attend will get a hayride tour through the six scenes and get to see the story unfold before them."
Dyess said more than 2,100 people attended the tour last year.
Dyess said this is an outdoor nativity experience like no other. The scenes depicting Mary, the wise men, the search for the child king, the town of Bethlehem and the manger scene are all included in the free tour. With each stop, people will be able to see the people, animals, and places important to the story of Christ's birth.
The tours will continue Saturday and Sunday nights beginning at 5 p.m. and continuing until 9 p.m. Hot cocoa and cookies will be served to those waiting their turn to experience the Christmas story.
Dyess said although the tour has been free throughout the years, people have still wanted to give donations or love offerings. He said for those wishing to give, they can bring coats or canned goods.
"We have partnered with some charitable organizations to give the canned goods and coats to needy people," Dyess said. "This is not really about money. That is not why we do this. It is about the message of Christ."