2 Sumter churches hosting live nativity scenes

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Although Christmas is a little more than two weeks away, Sumterites can get into the holiday spirit by revisiting the birth of Christ this weekend.

Begin the holiday season by taking a drive through Bethlehem and watching the story of Christmas - set during the time it took place - at the 20th-annual Living Christmas Story at Trinity United Methodist Church on Liberty Street.

Visitors will witness the story of Christmas unfold from when the angel Gabriel visited Mary to when Jesus was resurrected as they drive along the church grounds.

"It's a beautiful start to the holidays," said Sandie Cone, casting director for the event.

This is the reason for the holiday season, she said.

The idea for the annual event was brought to the church after members of the congregation saw a similar event at a church in Columbia years ago.

To make sure the event is as authentic as possible, Trinity brings in real livestock - llamas, sheep, donkeys, goats and cows - and has volunteers who play background characters in Bethlehem.

Visitors can see the Living Christmas Story from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights at Trinity United Methodist Church grounds, 226 W. Liberty St. For more information, call (803) 773-9393.

On the other side of Liberty Street, in the historic district on Calhoun Street, those seeking the meaning of Christmas can also enjoy the Living Nativity hosted by Grace Baptist Church. The show will feature actors and narrators who will tell the prophecy of Jesus and the story of his birth. The church will also have hot chocolate and snacks available.

Grace Baptist Church will have two Living Nativity shows - at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. - on Friday and Saturday. For more information, call (803) 778-6417.