I love Christmas and everything that comes with it.  Growing up in church, the Christmas story, the story of Jesus's birth is one that I know very well. I even played Mary, the mother of Jesus in a Christmas play once. Another thing that goes along with Christmas is traditions.

The Second Baptist Church will host its live Nativity Scene for the 66th time this year. You can see the live nativity scene Wednesday, December 23rd from 7 pm-8 pm, and December 24th, from 7 pm-8 pm. Second Baptist Church is located at 711 E 17th St in Odessa.

Michael Bauer of the Odessa American recently spoke to Jackie Brem, the pastor at Second Baptist Church Odessa, who gave some insight into the history of the nativity scene:

“We started this in 1955 and the way it works, we have a setup in our courtyard and we have people dress up as the different characters in the biblical era,” Brem said. “We have the wise men and the angels and we have music playing in the background with scripture being read at different intervals. People can either come and sit and listen or people can drive by and take a look at it. It’s a serene scene to be a part of. It’s great.”

“In the past, we’ve had some different groups in the community come and be a part of it as well as a few other churches,” Brem said. “We’ve had families take entire standings or an entire family will get different members and extend the family to take part of an entire stand.”

“We have four standings on the first two nights and two standings on the last night,” Brem said. “There are 11 people that are each standing and then we have people in the background and people who come take care of the animals and make sure they get out. We have people who direct the crowd where to go and we have people in our kitchen. I’d say there are about 50-60 people that take part of this and help put this together.”

“It’s one of those things where it’s been going on for so long that everyone knows their task come the night of the event,” Brem said. “We have a few people that help out with the costumes and help us get dressed. We have our music minister and our sound guy and then we have a few deacons and a few other folks who intermingle with the crowd when they come.”

Real animals are also included in the Live Nativity.

“This year, we’re going to have two sheep and a goat and then we have a donkey as well,” Brem said. “We had one donkey in the past that we used to use but then we had to retire her.”

There are numerous different challenges that Second Baptist Church has faced over the years from the weather to last year’s pandemic.

“It can be different things at different times,” Brem said. “Last year, it was a little bit challenging because of COVID. We had to do things a little bit different. There are times where weather can be an issue. I had some members talk about times where they remember doing it in the snow and how they persevered through because of the message that’s proclaimed is so important.”

Jerry Robinson, who helps set up the sound system for the music at each Live Nativity has been a longtime member and has helped out with it every year.

“I’ve been involved with it ever since it started as a teenager,” Robinson said. “I was 12-13 whenever it started. I was involved with it throughout junior high and high school. I went to college and came back and have been involved with it since I came back in 1967.”

One of Brem’s favorite parts in doing the Live Nativity every year is proclaiming the message of Christmas.

“The message of Christmas is that Jesus is called the Prince of Peace so we can proclaim that message to the community and most importantly, for me, proclaiming at Christmas that Christ came to give us life and life eternal,” Brem said.

Odessa American
Odessa American

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