Christmas characters came to life in Saturday’s living nativity drive-thru event


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – We are just 20 days away from Christmas and tonight one church was celebrating early by telling the classic tale behind the holiday.

Bringing the Christmas story’s characters to life is a beloved tradition for the Southern Hills Church congregation.

“I have helped out since I was in second grade and I just graduated college, so a long time. I’ve been an angel as a kid, I’ve been Mary, I’ve been inside doing childcare, kind of everything. My parents are the ones who co-organize this, so, been a big part for a long time,” Abby Beach, who is playing an angel, said.

“I’m a sophomore in high school and I’ve been doing this as long as I can remember, so a long time. I’ve been an angel, I’ve been Mary the last couple years and I’ve helped with kids inside, so it’s a good memory that’s going back a long way,” Amelia Congdon, who is playing Mary, said.

Though they had to re-think the event in its 24th year because of the pandemic, they were excited to still have people roll through to see six scenes of the story.

“And honestly, we’re kind of finding out that this is a really great way and we might continue to do this in the future. So, it’s fun to kind of see how it’s changed over the years. We started out over there and it was tiny and there was hardly anybody and like, last year, the year before, there was like 500 people that came and saw this, so it’s definitely grown over the years,” Beach said.

If you happened to miss the live drive-thru nativity, don’t worry, brothers Colter and Calen Wagner will tell you all about it.

“Well, it’s super cool. There’s a bunch of live animals,” Colter said.

“I like the farm animals,” Calen said.

“There’s a bunch of sheep over there, there’s the angels, the merchants and then all the way over there is baby Jesus and some donkeys. It’s a super nice night,” Colter said.

“Um, lots of lights around the street,” Calen said.

Telling a classic story 2020-style.

“We hope everybody stays safe this year and healthy and that we can all celebrate this beautiful season and Jesus’s birth,” Beach said.

“Merry Christmas,” Congdon said.

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