Countywide nativity event is planned

MONTICELLO – A nativity scene like no other is planned in Monticello this weekend, to be attended and put on by organizations from throughout Lawrence County as a prelude to Christmas.

“This is the first year we are holding the event, so we have kind of a wait-and-see type attitude,” said Gay McElroy, secretary of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, Wednesday afternoon.

“Its level of significance – especially for the holiday season – cannot be understated. The more we know about this time, the better,” McElroy said, referring to the period of Jesus Christ’s birth.

Instead of a one-dimensional scene, which typically only depicts one part of the manger scene, the Monticello Nativity presentation is going to be much, much more expansive.

Ten churches from all over Lawrence County are each constructing and presenting one of 10 nativity scenes at the event, which will be both educational and inspirational, according to McElroy.

Each church will be responsible for a different scene and will set up in the Atwood Water Park in Monticello. Visitors will be able to drive through the park and view the scenes.

Placed closely together, the nativity scenes will provide visitors with a quick succession of scenes, such as Mary and Joseph and the donkey, the Three Wise Men, Teaching at the Temple, the Baptism, the Last Crucifixion and the Empty Tomb, among others.

McElroy said church volunteers and city officials will hand out CDs to every vehicle at the beginning of the caravan. Drivers will then play the CD as they drive along the park’s road. The CD audio is coordinated to give details about each particular nativity scene as drivers approach them. This will continue until the end of the route at which time drivers will give back their CD.

Depending on the turnout, the entire experience should not take over 15 minutes, according to McElroy. If cars get backed up, vehicle occupants can rewind or fast-forward their CDs to correspond with the scene they are viewing, McElroy said.

This year’s nativity scene will be the first of its kind for Monticello and Lawrence County.

“As far as I know, this will be unique for much of southwest Mississippi,” McElroy said of the countywide event.

The nativity scene will take place Friday from 6-9 p.m. and Saturday from 5-9 p.m. Signs have been put up on Highway 84 to assist with directions.

“We would like a nice crowd. Whatever we learn from this year’s event will prepare us for next year,” said McElroy.