For thirteen years my (immediate) family and I have gathered at the home of my grandparents, Allen and Reba Hoyle, in observance of the real reason for Christmas… Jesus!
If you’ve traveled through the intersection of NC Highway 274 and Flay Road a few days prior to December 25th you have probably seen the manger awaiting its character in the years past. This year will be no different.
Our family will hold its fourteenth live nativity at 1960 Highway 274, Cherryville NC 28021 on Monday, December 23rd and Tuesday, December 24th, 2019 from 6-8 p.m.
Just over fourteen years ago my “Mommaw” stumbled upon the idea of hosting a live nativity in her yard. After discussing the matter with her beloved husband, my “Pop”, the idea soon had a set date. The members of our (growing) family would each have a role. However, the smiling faces in the display are not the main attraction.
Although the nativity is held as a replica of the birthplace of Jesus, the animals (raised on my grandfather’s farm) seem to grasp the attention of many. Each year we bring down a sheep and one of our donkeys. Often times, the ewe (female sheep) will have a lamb alongside her. Occasionally a baby calf will be in the cast - if we’re raising one on the bottle at the time.
My role as a shepherd has led me beyond the straw flooring, and out to greet those who want to pet the lamb. A few gather inside the stable to greet each member individually, but we welcome that. Most of our audience stands just behind the spotlights to view the display as a whole. Many people take pictures, whether they drive through the circular driveway or get out and visit for awhile.
Each year has been a success in our eyes. Every night we see new faces, familiar ones and even those who have made our tradition their tradition. In the past, people have gifted my family and I with cookies, songs, prayers, heartfelt compliments and more than anything; love for Jesus. Some years we have clung together for warmth while it was snowing, other years we’ve celebrated in the rain. The weather has been overwhelmingly favorable most years.
When my family and I began the live nativity in 2005, I was just four years old. The two hours seemed never ending. I remember going inside to warm up with my great-grandmother who was looking after my younger cousin. Several years later, we were old enough to endure two hours of standing still. Upon the growth of my family, the nativity has also grown (by four) since 2009.
In this year’s nativity we plan to have the highly favored animals, several shepherds, three wisemen, an angel, Mary and Joseph and a babydoll to represent baby Jesus. Many have joked before about having a real baby to play the role. The babydoll is the only thing fake in our family’s nativity to date.
When asking my grandparents their take on the nativity they both replied “we are so thankful to be able to touch the hearts of those around us.” It is true, our family could not imagine Christmas without hosting the event.
My family and I have certainly been blessed by the event and we are humbled by those who choose to celebrate Christmas at our nativity. We would love to see you this year!
Monday, December 23rd and Tuesday, December 24th; 6-8 p.m. at 1960 Highway 274, Cherryville NC 28021.
For questions, or to submit pictures please feel free to contact me at any of the below social sites.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: Madison Weaver
- Twitter/Instagram: @madi5882
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