By MARCIA LANE
PALATKA — The Christmas spirit glows at the Bethlehem Morning Nativity Show Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 15-17, in the fellowship hall of St. James United Methodist Church.
Christmas villages, nativities, lights and music highlight the event that is free and open to the public.
Early visitors have been children from area day cares facilities, nurseries and pre-school. You can still schedule a time to visit and have a special “nativity” story time that explains what the scenes represent and the story of the birth of the Christ child. And to intrigue the children there’s one special item that doesn’t belong to the season just waiting for sharp eyes to spot.
Almost 200 nativities have been loaned by area people for the exhibition. Another 100 items including Christmas villages and angels decorate the hall.
“It’s sort of morphed,” said St. James member Sam Deputy, who suggested the nativity show. “We’ve gotten all sorts of items depicting how cultures around the globe celebrate Christmas.”
“We’ve gotten nativities from our church members and from others,” said the Rev. Don Hanna, adding Deputy first saw the idea out west.
Items range from miniatures to ones standing three feet tall. The dazzling array was designed by BJ Johns and Don Tarvin, members of First Presbyterian Church of Palatka.
Deputy says it’s the church’s gift to the community and a chance for community members and visitors to view a moving reminder of the birth of Christ.
To set up a tour for children or for more information, call Deputy at 386-312-6266 or 386-983-4897.
The Bethlehem Morning Nativity Show is Thursday (Dec. 15), 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday (Dec. 16), 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday (Dec. 17), 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. There is no charge.
A soup and sandwich lunch will be served on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Cost is $5. Dinner will be served on Thursday and Friday evenings for $5.
St. James UMC is at 400 Reid Street (U.S. 17) in Palatka, across from the Putnam County Courthouse.