Drive-thru nativity reenacts birth of Christ (video)
Video: Holy Cross Lutheran Church Drive-through Nativity 2
Video: Holy Cross Lutheran Church Drive-through Nativity 3
YOAKUM - Sitting behind a long line of gently moving vehicles, Scott Mann dimmed his truck's headlights and turned left into the parking lot of Holy Cross Lutheran Church.
Mann stared out of the window at an illuminated driveway in front of his pickup.
Before him, more than a dozen church members - costumed in first century garb - stood motionless and silent as they portrayed a live retelling of the story of the birth of Jesus.
"When we first started coming to this, it was more about entertainment for the Christmas season. But it's definitely grown into a spiritual thing for us," said Mann, who has driven through the Holy Cross nativity event in Yoakum for the past five years with his wife, Tanya Mann, and their two children Shaylee, 9, and Dylan, 7.
"It brings the story to life. It puts you in the mind-set of the life of Jesus and makes you want to look to him," Tanya Mann added.
Driving through the long line of 11 illuminated displays, each based on scriptures found in the Bible's second chapter of the Gospel of Luke, characters depicted the angel who first delivered the good news of Mary's divine pregnancy and the three traveling wise men with the final stop displaying the manger scene with a baby Jesus.
Christmas carols boomed through speakers across the church lawn while live donkeys, lambs and a cow nibbled from nearby piles of hay.
"I thought it was pretty cool. . I read from the Bible, and the more I read, the more I know (Jesus) is real," Shaylee said. "I liked the animals. When you got close, you could tell they were real."
Kathy and Hallie Hall, the mother-daughter team who organizes the Holy Cross nativity scene each year, said the Bible-themed drive-thru event provides more than a family-friendly Christmas outing.
"So many people look forward to it every year," said Hallie Hall, mentioning the church has organized the drive-thru nativity scene since the mid-1980s. "We want to spread God's word and help the community understand the story. It's like you're walking through the Bible."
Hall said more than 100 cars drive through the almost eight-minute reenactment every year.
Putting on the event requires dozens of church volunteers who serve as Bible actors and handymen to help build sets and resolve technical issues that may arise.
"If people knew all that we did to pull this off, they'd be surprised," Hallie Hall said. "It's truly a lot to get this going."
Hallie Hall said she enjoys each of the displays but favors the nativity's final manger scene.
"I like the last one," she said. "Jesus is the reason for the season."