The Christmas story comes to life in a 2020 way


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s a tale many are familiar with — the story of Christmas. Members of one Sioux Falls church wanted to continue their tradition of telling that story, even during a pandemic.

This empty stable at Southern Hills Church in Sioux Falls may only have dried up leaves in it right now, but come tomorrow night it will light up as the congregation brings the story of Christmas to life.

“We’re going to have shepherds, angels, we’ll have a donkey, sheep, cow, horses, all the animals that you would visualize being around the stable, which is right behind me. Mary and Joseph, the baby Jesus, it’s going to be a fantastic event,” pastor Don Vanderlip said.

For 24 years, Southern Hills Church has hosted a living nativity scene for Christmas. It’s still happening this year, but in true 2020-style, it will be a drive through event.

“We felt that we could still do this. We usually have a lot of stuff inside, cookies, gingerbread houses and all that, but because of the pandemic, we decided to not do that but to move everything outside. And we’re going to have six scenes depicting the nativity story, the birth of Jesus,” pastor Vanderlip said.

The hope is that people can find a sense of normalcy in their holiday season this year.

“It’s such a un-normal year and for us to be able to continue to do this, it provides our families with that one aspect of, hey this is normal, this is what Southern Hills does every year,” Chris Beach, who helps set up the manger, said.

“We look at it as kind of our gift to the community and to the neighborhood, so it’s great that we can do it, continue to do it, through this environment,” Mike Hahn, who plays a Wiseman, said.

It’s a gift for those who participate and anyone who drives through.

You can drive by and see the nativity scenes at the Southern Hills Church from 6-8 p.m. on Saturday, December 5.

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