NEW LONDON – The Wooten family has participated in living nativities, supplying animals from their farm, at other churches for several years. In 2022, they wanted to do something different at their home church.
First Baptist Church, New London traditionally goes Christmas caroling the Wednesday night before Christmas. Heidi Wooten came up with the idea of taking the message of Christmas to the neighbors to remind them that Christ came to earth over 2,000 years ago. “I wanted them to know they matter to us because they matter to Christ,” said Wooten.
The youth made cookies that were packaged with a bookmark that included a church member’s poem and the church’s service schedule.
On caroling night several gathered to take Christmas to their neighbors along with sheep and donkeys. Wooten commented, “So many people had a part in making this event a success—from cutting out cookies, donating cookie ingredients, writing a poem, packaging cookies, singing carols, herding and cleaning up animals, setting up, participating, and cleaning up the live nativity. That’s the body of Christ.”
On Christmas Eve, the old sanctuary was transformed into the manger scene complete with the innkeeper, angels, shepherds and Roman guards, so the living nativity (sans animals) could be brought in out of the freezing temperatures. Christmas story portrayers rotated throughout the two-hour event to share the birth of Christ with the community.
Chris Kuenzle is the pastor of FBC, New London.