Asbury UMC holds successful live nativity, festive event

Published 1:16 pm Wednesday, December 7, 2022

By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

NORTH SHELBY – Asbury United Methodist Church celebrated the reason for the season with its first ever live nativity and festive event on Sunday, Dec. 4.

The festivities began at 4 p.m. and lasted until 8 p.m.

“Things were outstanding,” Communications Director Amy Gonzalez said. “It was a happy and joyful event, and everything that we hoped it would be.”

The public event offered an ornament making station, a photo area with Santa and Mrs. Claus, free cookies and hot chocolate.

“The weather was threatening us with some sprinkles, and raindrops and it had held off for the entire event,” Gonzalez said. “Families were able to come and experience the best of Christmas. Both the nativity and the birth of Jesus, but also the fun of Santa and making ornaments and eating cookies and drinking milk, and we loved it. We loved every minute of it.”

The following food trucks were present at the event to sell concessions to attendees: Hey Bebe, Southern Coffee and Waffles and HawgTide Bar-B-Q.

“All three came, and it was terrific to have them there, and I think they just added on a whole another level of fun,” Gonzalez said.

The centerpiece of the event was a live nativity that was accompanied by a Bethlehem market.

“It was wonderful,” Gonzalez said. “We took teams (of) Sunday school classes here at Asbury and each class committed to helping bring a Bethlehem marketplace to life, and so we had a woodworking station and we had a pottery station and we had an oil lamp station and there was a spice station. They dressed in character, and they had all of their wares for kids to touch and smell and feel and tell them a little bit about what a vendor like that would have provided for the public in that time.”

For the nativity they had Joseph, Mary, a baby Jesus and wise men alongside donkeys, sheep, a camel and a bright star in the sky.

“We had lots of very grateful people from our community who just said, ‘Thank you for doing this. Thank you for providing it and letting us be a part of it,’ and our church family had the same sentiment,” Gonzalez said. They spent a big part of their day already in worship with us and then came back and stayed all for the evening and night to help make this possible and they just were so pleased.”

Based on the reception from the event, Asbury UMC may consider holding the event again next year, she said.

“We haven’t made that final decision, but based on everything that happened this year, we loved it and we would be honored to do it again,” Gonzalez said. “It just felt really nice to have both parts of Christmas together in one place and so that you could just experience everything.”

The holiday festivities do not end there as Asbury UMC is planning a host of events for the holidays and the new year.

Those interested in learning more may visit the church’s website at