Several years ago I decided we needed to do something that represented the real reason for Christmas, not just visiting Santa and riding the Pink Pig. So I set out to find one of the live nativity scenes around Atlanta. It wasn’t as easy as you might think. Now I’ve heard of several. If you know of other places to see live nativities around Atlanta, please post a comment. Don’t forget to wear warm clothes. All of these activities are held outside and free unless otherwise noted.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! Maybe Christmas he thought doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.
Free Church Sponsored Live Nativity Scenes Around Atlanta
Roswell United Methodist Church
814 Mimosa Blvd, Roswell, GA 30075 | (770) 993-6218
When: Dec. 3, 2016 | 4 pm, 5 pm, or 6 pm
Info: Roam through a 1st century marketplace (open 5 – 7 pm), brought to life by costumed characters and real, stable animals. Share the excitement of shepherds, Roman soldiers, shopkeepers, and artisans, and witness the live production that tells the story of the very first Christmas. You must reserve your time slot, so make sure to plan ahead. Although this event is free, they are asking for donations of $10 per family.
St. John’s United Methodist Church
550 Mt. Paran Rd., NW, Atlanta, GA 30327 | (404) 255-1384
When: December 10-11, 2016 | 6 – 8 pm
Info: We have been to this nativity several times and it’s quite elaborate. Take a walking journey along a torch lighted path to the ancient city of Bethlehem. Be prepared to “make your mark” for the census in order to enter the city gates, guarded by Roman soldiers. Inside is a bustling street, lined with stalls full of bread, drinks, and herbs for sale. Watch as a blacksmith finishes refining a sword for a soldier, or listen as school children learn Hebrew and recite stories. A fortune teller picks stones and holds them to the light to tell the future. There is a place to hitch the camels before entering the palace of King Herod which is guarded by more soldiers. The sound of angels singing brings guests outside the city. Out of the hustle and bustle, there is a barn with Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. The couples donkey is hitched close by and the three kings wait patiently for their que to bring the gifts. The Fellowship Hall is transformed into an inviting Angel Wing Café where visitors can warm up and refresh with complimentary hot cider, hot cocoa, and fresh baked cookies.
Mountain View United Methodist Church – Bethlehem Walk
2300 Jamerson Road, Marietta, Georgia 30066, United States | 770-928-0050
Date: Dec. 3 & 4 and Dec. 9 & 10, 2016 | 7 – 9 pm
Info: Experience the sights and sounds of the City of Bethlehem on the night Jesus was born! The shops, the townspeople, the census takers, the Roman Soldiers, all going about their business while an unnoticed miracle takes place in a small corner of the city.
Snellville United Methodist Church
2428 Main St E, Snellville, GA 30078 | (770) 972-9360
Date: Dec. 3-5, 2016 | 6 – 8:30 pm
Info: Take a journey to Bethlehem accompanied by a family traveling to pay their taxes. Along the way, they’ll tell you the story of the birth of the Christ child. As you go, take part in an ancient marketplace where merchants peddle their wears (including live chickens), and storytellers pass down traditions. Try your hand at dipping candles, making dolls, or sample wears from local merchants. Witness Mary and Joseph traveling by donkey, Roman soldiers, the no-vacancy signs on all the inns, shepherds, sheep, goats, angels, Wisemen traveling by Camel (there is a live camel along with the other animals) and even a tax collector.
Sardis United Methodist Church
3725 Powers Ferry Rd., Atlanta, GA 30342
Date: Sat., Dec. 10 & 11, 2016 | 6 – 8 pm
Info: This is a great, laid back production complete with camels, goats, and a furry bunny. There are straw seats in front of the stable and after the production, you can pet the animals then go into the beautiful church for homemade cookies and hot cider.
Hope Crossing Church
2106 Old Pendergrass Rd. Jefferson , GA 30549 | (706) 387-0003
Date: Dec. 9 – 11 and 14, 2016 |7 and 8 pm
Info: Live nativity shows begin at 7:00 pm & 8:00 pm. This is an outdoor live nativity program depicting the birth of Jesus, suitable for all ages, so please dress appropriately and bring a blanket just in case.
Clairmont Hills Baptist Church
1995 Clairmont Rd, Decatur, GA 30033 | (404) 634-6231
Date: Dec. 9-10, 2016 | 7 – 9 pm (Dec. 11 it opens at 6 pm)
Info: The Living Nativity has been a tradition at Clairmont Hills Baptist for twenty years. Come and experience the events that surround the birth of our Savior. From the comfort of your car, drive through twelve scenes that tell the story of God’s plan in sending Jesus.
Chamblee First United Methodist Church
4147 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd., Chamblee, GA 30341 | 770-457-2525
Date: Dec. 11, 2016 | 7 – 8 pm
Info: The Live Nativity is on the hill at the activities building behind the church. Children are allowed to pet the animals before and after the presentation, and the actors wear Biblical costumes. A carol choir sings all of the familiar carols as the story unfolds through music and narration. All are welcomed to cookies and hot chocolate in the Fellowship Hall following the drama.
Peachtree Lutheran Church
3686 Peachtree Road N.E., Atlanta, GA 30319 | 404-233-7031
Date: Dec. 9-11, 2016, 7 – 9 pm
Info: In addition to the normal cast, see (and pet) live goats, sheep, donkeys and doves. The church bills this as Atlanta’s Oldest Living Nativity.
Simpsonwood United Methodist Church Walk Through Bethlehem
4500 Jones Bridge Cir, Norcross, GA 30092 | (770) 441-2181
Date: Dec. 9 and 10, 2016 | 7 – 9 pm, (Dec. 11 6 – 8 pm)
Info: Hundreds of candle lights line the path to the Walls of Bethlehem. Roman guards, shopkeepers and merchants pin costume are in the streets. Care has been taken to ensure that the good in each shop are realistic. See live farm animals, a camel, shepherds, angels and Wise Men during your visit.
Saint Mark Lutheran Church
2110 Brockett Rd, Tucker, Ga. | 770-938-4546
Date: Saturday, December 17, 2016 6 – 9 pm.
Info: Travel back in time to Bethlehem and experience the story of Christ’s birth from Caesar’s decree to the arrival of the Wise Men at the manger! Live Animals – Christmas Caroling – Cookies, Coffee & Hot Chocolate
Annual Ashebrooke Night of Lights
Ashebrooke Subdivision, 3905 Northridge Dr, Cumming, GA 30040
Date: Dec. 18, 2016
Info: I don’t have much info on this, but here’s what a reader Dominique Sheffield has to say about it… My neighborhood does an amazing Live Nativity in Cumming GA and its held on our Annual Night of Lights Charity event. It’s this Sunday, Dec 18th at Ashebrooke off of Bethelview. Please come see us!
Rock Spring Presbyterian Church
1824 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta, GA 30324 | (404) 875-7483
Date: December 23 7 – 8:30 pm and 24, 2016 7 – 9 pm
Info: Since 1954, the Live Nativity Scene has been held December 23 to 24 in front of the church as Rock Spring Presbyterian’s way of celebrating the birth of Christ with the community. Rock Spring Presbyterian Church enacts the story of Jesus’ birth in half hour tableaus. Church members and neighbors dress up and play the parts of shepherds, angel, kings and the holy family. Live animals fill out the scene as well a narrated sound track with music. During the Live Nativity Scenes folks warm up with hot cocoa and snacks in the church fellowship. AS a special treat on Friday night Dec 23rd there will be a Christmas Bluegrass Jam in fellowship hall as well. Please call the Rock Spring church office (404-785-7483) if you and your family are interested in participating in the Live Nativity Scene, many shepherd slots are still available.
St Vincent de Paul Catholic Church
680 W Memorial Dr, Dallas, GA 30132 | (770) 443-0566
Date: Dec. 9&10, 2016 6-9pm
Info: FREE event. Stroll down torch lit paths guarded by Roman Soldiers. See singing angels and a live nativity re-enactment. Cocoa, marshmallow roasting and more also available.
Live Nativity Scenes Around Atlanta as Part of an Attraction
Lake Lanier Islands Magical Nights of Lights
7000 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford, GA 30518
Date: Dec. 1 – 23, 2016
Info: Lake Lanier Island’s live nativity is part of the Magical Nights of Lights and is included in the daily admission. During select dates throughout December, the resort has partnered with Free Chapel to present a beautiful LIVE nativity outside Peachtree Pointe Amphitheater.
Callaway Gardens Fantasy in Lights
Dates: Nov. 18, 2016 – Jan. 7, 2017
Info: After viewing Callaway Gardens Fantasy in Lights, sit around Robin Lake Beach and enjoy Twas The Night before Christmas and The Nativity, light and sound shows. Although technically not a live nativity, it does enticing passers-by to stop, reflect and enjoy.
Live Nativity at North Georgia Zoo
Dates: Nov. 25-27, 2016
Info: A Live Nativity will be set up so you can remember the “Reason for the Season.” Spend time with family and friends being thankful for what God has given us and enjoy activities that will bring families and friends together! There will be a Marshmallow Roast, Wool Jump and other Holiday activities that are FREE with admission to the farm!
Biblical History Museum
130 Gordon Commercial Dr., LaGrange, GA 30240 | (706) 885-0363
Info: During the month of December, trace the journey of Mary and Joseph as they travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem. In addition, the Center has a ‘Two Different Kings” light and sound show which contrasts the difference between the world of King Herod and King Jesus. In addition to the holiday season events, The Biblical History Museum is a fabulous place to go back in time to ancient Israel. It’s very interactive and kid friendly.
Bonus: Three Hundred Global Nativity Scenes. While not a live event, it is something spectacular! For the twentieth holiday season, The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany presents an exhibit of nativity scenes from around the world from Saturday, December 5 and Sunday, December 6 and from Wednesday, December 9 through Sunday, December 13. Over the years, the exhibit has grown to over 300 crèches. From the elegant to the eccentric, the birth scenes are sculpted in materials ranging from carved wood to volcanic ash.