Live Nativity Scenes in Dallas for 2016

For the past two years, my family has attended a Live Nativity Scene at a nearby church in Dallas, TX. Wow, I mean, wow, it was not at all what I was expecting. I’ve always heard of the Live Nativity Scenes in Dallas, but held off on attending any, not sure how manageable or enjoyable they would be with three young boys in energetic tow.

In Italy, nativity scenes are also referred to as Nativity of Jesus in art. For the past two years, the Live Nativity that we have visited was “One Starry Night” at Wilshire not only perfected the art of the crib but created a real world experience filled with living nativity pageants and a faultless marketplace in Bethlehem, giving one the feeling that you truly stepped through an artful picture into a real world. Wilshire delivers a true Christmas gift to the community.

If you are interested in attending a live nativity scene and live in Dallas, below is my list collected from via word-of-mouth recommendations and has been updated for 2016:

1) First United Methodist Church Plano (3160 E Spring Creek Pkwy, Plano, Texas 75074) “Journey to Bethlehem” Saturday, December 3rd, 5:30 PM – 8 PM. The Christmas story comes alive as you journey with Mary and Joseph on their way to Bethlehem. Travel through the scenes complete with sheep, donkeys, even a camel, ending at the manger. Come and share in the joy of the birth of the Christ child. Literally travel through as this is a drive-thru nativity.

2) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (4000 Nazarene Drive, Carrollton, TX 75010)“Community Nativity” Thursday, Dec 1, 5-9pm; Friday, Dec 2, 9am-9pm and Saturday Dec 3, 9am-8pm. Cultural and artistic portrayals including art, a live nativity, and music. Free event.

3) Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1324 W. Exchange Parkway, Allen) Decembr 2nd and 3rd, 10am-7pm. Experience over 400 nativity displays, soul-stirring musical performances, and a live nativity at the Allen Nativity Exhibit: Let Him In. View and examine historic Bibles and sacred texts on display. Bring the family and reflect on the reason for the season. Free Event

4) Park Cities Baptist Church is having their live nativity this Sunday, December 4th at 4pm with food trucks, ice slide, and many other family activities in the front and back lawns.

5) Wilshire Baptist (4316 Abrams Rd. Dallas, 75214): “One Starry Night” See my review below. 2016 info: Date TBA soon: Free Event!

My family at the Wilshire live nativity
My family at the Wilshire live nativity

6) Grace Bible (11306 Inwood Rd., Dallas, 75229): “Journey into Christmas” Friday night, December 9 and Saturday night, December 10 from 6-9 p.m. Interactive walk-through Christmas story! Petting zoo(with live camels), coloring books, caroling, cookie decorating, live music, face painting, and refreshments! Be captured by the nativity story and watching it come to life. Very Gospel oriented. Guided tours are every 10 minutes and every tour last about 40 minutes. Free Event!

7) Ascension Episcopal (8787 Greenville Ave. Dallas, 75243): Sunday, December 18, 5:00PM – 8:00Pm : Celebrate the Christmas journey of Mary and Joseph. Guests will go along the Christmas journey with the holy couple, as well as other fully costumed participants and live animals. There will also be crafts, hot chocolate, and food trucks.Following the final tour of the evening, all are invited to go to the courtyard for a mini-posada, where Mary and Joseph will go from door to door, looking for a place that welcomes them and picking up other travelers along the way. Free event.

8) St. Paul Plano (6565 Independence Pkwy, Plano, Tx 75023): “Journey to the Manager” Date and time: TBA soon. Six narrated outdoor scenes with the re-enactment of the coming of Jesus.

9) Lamb of God Lutheran Church in Flower Mound (1401 Cross Timbers Road, Flower Mound, 75028): Date and time: TBA soon. Live nativity, hayride, Christmas Story acted out by costumed characters, petting zoo, hot cider and cookies. Free Event.

10) Walnut Hill United Methodist Church (10066 Marsh Lane, Dallas, 75229): December 16, 6-8pm.Las Posadas, Christmas Carnival and Live Nativity. Sweet recreation of the birth of Christ, cookies and cocoa. Christmas games, music and Santa. Free Event.

11) Preston Hollow Presbyterian (9800 Preston Road, Dallas, 75230, Pecan Grove): “The Living Creche” Date and time: TBA soon. Live enactment takes place every 30 minutes, with the last show at 8:30pm and between shows, children will be able to pet live sheep and goats.

12) First Frisco United Methodist Church (7659 Preston Road, Frisco): Date and time: TBA soon. Cost is $5, Hands on fun for kids to experience life in Bethlehem all those years ago when Jesus was born. Live nativity, petting zoo, sweets, drinks and a keepsake family photo.

13) Creekwood UMC in Allen (261 Country Club Road, Allen,corner of Stacy and Country Club): Wednesday and Thursday, December 7 and 8 | 6–8 p.m., a new show begins every half hour. Shows are 6p.m., 6:30p.m., 7p.m., 7:30p.m., and 8p.m. The shows are 15-minutes, storytelling, actors portraying Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the Three Wise Men act out the scene as it was on that same cold night in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago.After enjoying carolers, children’s crafts activities and complimentary hot chocolate, cookies and other refreshments, guests will then be ushered into the barn where they’ll be taken back in time to the evening that Jesus was born. Free Event.

14) Bethlehem Revisited in Waxahachie (402 N. College Street, Waxahachie, 75165, behind Central Presbyterian Church): “Bethlehem Revisited” Friday December 2-Sunday December 4, 6-9pm, AND Friday December 9-Sunday December 11, 6-9pm. This event was called #1 Holiday event in the Lone Star State by Fox 4 News. Is amazing; walk the streets as Mary and Joseph did 2000 years ago on the night of Christ’s birth.
Actually it looks like Waxahachie has many family fun annual events such as the Scarborough Renaissance Festival, Mini Grand Prix, Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, Gingerbread Trail Historic Home Tour & Arts/Crafts Show, Crape Myrtle Festival and more. I’m keeping my eye on Waxahachie!

15) Church of Cross in Grapevine: 45 minute walking tour also giving you the feel of what Mary and Joseph journeyed from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

Prestonwood Baptist Church
Prestonwood Baptist Church

16) NOT a live nativity but this event looks amazing: Prestonwood Baptist Church(6801 W. Park Blvd., Plano, Texas 75093) presents The Gift of Christmas, a spectacular multimedia presentation that is sure to be a favorite event this Christmas season. This year’s production includes new visually-stunning elements and favorite songs of the Christmas season. But the most important aspect has not changed—sharing the wonders of the Savior’s birth! The Gospel message comes to life through a breathtaking and powerful presentation that depicts the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ. This year’s presentation includes:
• Elaborate, completely redesigned staging and lighting
• State-of-the-art, high-resolution video technology with a massive LED video wall
• A live, 50-piece orchestra and nearly 1,000-member cast and choir
• Brilliant musical scoring
• Flying angels, live animals, a living Nativity and more
When: Saturday, December 5, 11 a.m., 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, December 6, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, December 10, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, December 11, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, December 12, 11 a.m., 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, December 13, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.
Doors open 30 minutes before each performance. Tickets: $15–$28, available online. Premium seating is $80 and includes reserved seating, reserved parking, and a Christmas buffet.

Is there a Live Nativity Scene in DFW that you can recommend?

In 2014, I attended my very first Live Nativity Scene at a nearby church in Dallas, TX and we attended the same one the following year. The following is my review on this live nativity to give others an idea of what to expect:

Children making fresh bread and then getting some to eat as they walk around
Children making fresh bread and then getting some to eat as they walk around

The Live Nativity that we visited was “One Starry Night” at Wilshire not only perfected the art of the crib but created a real world experience filled with living nativity pageants and a faultless marketplace in Bethlehem, giving one the feeling that you truly stepped through an artful picture into a real world.

My mom and boys along with another family friend from Germany
My mom and boys along with another family friend from Germany

The whole community hall, prayer garden and downstairs gallery were used for this marketplace. One could come and go during a three hour window frame.
Honestly, this Nativity Scene was nothing like what I was expecting.

My family was truly transformed into the past directly into Bethlehem and the manager scene. I was shocked at how minutely decorated it was, down to the costumed volunteers acting this event would present and role play and how hands-on, interactive it was for all attending.

The marketplace had stalls run by shopkeepers, shepherds, innkeepers, craftsman, artisans and musicians. Adults and children of all ages could enjoy making clay pots, playing different instruments, making and eating fresh bread, weaving, creating art with wood and shapes and so much more.

Beggar in need of coins
Beggar in need of coins

Upon entering, you received a bag filled with pretend coins and a passport that helps guide you along the route to take you through the market and get stamps upon completion of activities. You first had the option to go into a room where you could put clothing over your clothes to make you look and feel like you took a step back into the past into Bethlehem. A photographer took pictures of families. Next, we walked into a great hallway filled with food to taste and savor bringing the flavor and experience of food as it would have been prepared and served at that time.

Then we went into the marketplace of Bethlehem. We were told that tax collectors would sometimes come by, and we would need to pay them. However, as soon as we walked into the market, we came upon a poor family in need. My older son was afraid to give up his coins so quickly but one of my twins was quick to dive into his bag and give up a coin.

Two women beggars asking for coins for food
Two women beggars asking for coins for food

At one point, two women beggars came up to my twins and begged for coins for food. Both twin boys spent many minutes digging through their bags, but had only one coin left to give. One of the twins felt bad and tried to give them his passport and then his fresh bread.
Soon after, some tax collectors came up demanding money or they would haul the twins off to jail. The women beggars paid their only coin, via twins, to the tax collector. This was all very enjoyable and sweet to observe such interactions with my boys and the actors/actresses, subtle moral lesson fodder for later discussion therein.

Enjoying a woman storyteller using hand puppets
Enjoying a woman storyteller using hand puppets

All three of my boys especially enjoyed a woman storyteller using a hand puppet, and after listening to the story of Jesus we walked over to the live manager. At the manager, many kids were giving some of their coins to the baby Jesus. All three of my boys did this, which is why they only had one coin left by time the woman beggars and then tax collectors came along.

The manager scene was perfectly peaceful and quite a special focal point of the evening. Standing before such a reenactment, it is hard to imagine what the feel of the real manager would have been, the quiet and powerful intimacy of the great moment, wrapped in a humble and serene scene. Wilshire created a truly immersing and memorable experience for everyone.

My son giving coins to baby Jesus
My son giving coins to baby Jesus
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