Drive-thru nativity gives church a way to reach out

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Shelly Albright measures her son, Jacob, 16, for a sash. Jacob will participate in a live drive-thru nativity scene at Cumberland Christian Church. (Tom Russo/Daily Reporter)

CUMBERLAND — There are drive-thru restaurants and drive-thru banks, but a drive-thru nativity scene?

Folks at Cumberland Christian Church say their annual holiday event has been gaining in popularity and provides a way for the community to experience the real meaning of Christmas in a matter of minutes.

Live drive-thru scenes depicting the story of Christ’s birth will take place tonight and Saturday in the church parking lot, on Starter Street just north of Washington Street in Cumberland. A tradition for at least 15 years, members of the small congregation say the event is a way for them to reach out to the community and share faith.

Almost every member of the church takes part in the event, dressed as Biblical characters to depict how Jesus was born and the miraculous events leading up to the first Christmas. But just how the idea of a drive-thru nativity came about is a little hard to determine.

“I think we just got the idea, we wanted to do something more than just have a display,” said Art Liphard, a longtime church member. “It started out smaller, but we wanted live people to make the Bible story come alive.”

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