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Live Christmas nativity comes to Idaho Falls


IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is putting on a live nativity scene at the temple grounds Thursday at 6 p.m.

Sister Rebekah Lipman, a missionary with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, says Idaho Idaho Falls Mission President Matthew Hurley was inspired by the live nativity scenes he participated in in his home state of Pennsylvania. She says Hurley realized Idaho Falls lacked an event like this and spent the last few months organizing the nativity.

Event cancelations due to the pandemic caused church staff to have to think outside of the box in order to put on a show like this. They decided to feature a drive-in style nativity scene.

“The event that we’re doing is non denominational. We just want everyone to come together in the community,” Sister Lipman said.

Missionaries and community members will be acting out the scene of Jesus’s birth in different locations throughout the Idaho Falls area with real animals to include a camel, donkey and sheep. Missionaries have prepared for months to play roles such as villagers, Mary and Joseph. 

“Everyone gets to watch it from the safety of their cars, with the heater on, and it’s radio broadcasted so they can listen to it,” Sister Lipman said. “It’s in English and Spanish so everybody’s invited and everyone’s involved.”

There will be signs on the temple grounds to remind patrons to tune into channel 93.1 for English and 103.1 for Spanish. The radio broadcast will tell the biblical story of Jesus’s birth as the actors perform the scenes.

The actors will be portraying the nativity scene from Luke 2 in the New Testament of the Holy Bible. Sister Hallie Smith says Luke 2 is the most descriptive telling of Jesus’s birth.

“It’s really cool to read and learn this time of year,” Sister Smith said. “As representatives of Jesus Christ, our job is to teach about our Savior and this time of year is super special as we commemorate his birth.”

Last week, the live nativity took place in Iona, Shelley and Blackfoot. They performed in Rigby last night and will be in Idaho Falls Thursday, December 10 and Friday, December 11. From there, the troupe will perform in St. Anthony on Dec. 17 and the temple grounds in Rexburg on Dec. 18.

“I think this is just a really great way for people to celebrate the holidays. A lot of people are kind of sad at the way things have turned out this year,” Sister Lipman said. “2020 has been a little rough for some people but we know that there’s always hope and there’s always things that can go well. The holiday season doesn’t need to take a break because of COVID. We can always celebrate it, we can always have joy, and we can come together as a community to really enjoy the holidays, even though things are a little different this year.”

“With COVID, it’s been a little bit difficult to celebrate and to keep that spirit of Christmas alive this time of year,” Sister Smith said. “We’re offering this COVID-friendly drive-in nativity to help bring alive that spirit of Christ, which helps us come together and feel that Christmas magic.”

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Chelsea Briar

Chelsea is a reporter and producer for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.


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