Christmas Alive & Backyard Party
West University United Methodist Church's annual live nativity called Christmas Alive will be held at 6pm on Sunday, December 8, 2019 on the front lawn of the church. Raindate: December 15, 2019.
Following the performance, a community-wide Christmas Party will be held on the back of our property. A petting zoo with camel rides, children's crafts, hot wassail, desserts, and a photo booth will all be featured.
If you would like to help with Christmas Alive, please contact our Director of Music Ministries, Lynne Jackson.
Over 30 Years of Christmas Alive
The first performance of Christmas Alive, a nighttime outdoor nativity drama and musical performed on the oak tree-covered front lawn of West U Methodist, was December 1986 under the leadership of founding director, Laura Elwood. The weather that night was freezing and it had been sleeting, but the show went on complete with an angel children’s choir that looked like Pillsbury doughboys because they had on so many layers of clothes under their costumes!
Annual Christmas Alive performances, complete with costumed Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, shepherds, kings, angels and live animals and music, have continued and become a much-anticipated tradition. Christmas Alive is the church’s gift to West University and surrounding communities that inspires people to sense the sacredness of the Advent season.
There is a cast, crew, and support team of about 100 people to make the performance happen each year. Animals include a donkey, camel, sheep, goats, and an occasional llama! The block of University Blvd. in front of the church (from Edloe to Mercer) is closed to traffic and chairs are placed in the street. There were 2 performances with an average of 300 audience members at each. Hot wassail is served (or occasionally cold apple cider if the temperature is over 80 degrees!). We recently moved to one performance with a backyard party following the 6pm presentation of Christmas Alive.
Many church families have fond memories of their children (some now grown adults!) portraying baby Jesus or other rites of passage from the elementary school angel choir, middle school shepherds, and high school wise men and angels. There have even been a few times baby Jesus has actually been the son or daughter (yes, baby Jesus is sometimes a girl!) of the person performing as Mary or Joseph. Christmas Alive is a wonderful inter-generational outreach for our church and in addition to the children there are also adult shepherd singers, narrators, Happy Birthday Jesus party coordinators, set up, lights, stable builders, wassail servers, ushers and lots of other behind the scenes people.
Memorable moments of the performance include wiggly, slanted tinsel-haloed children angels, interesting live animals’ noises, baby Jesus enjoying the modern conveniences of a pacifier or baby bottle and the wise men walking up with a giant camel. But, perhaps the most people’s favorite part of Christmas Alive is the grand finale of each performance when all of the actors, readers, crew and audience lift their joyful voices together to fill the night air with the beautiful words of the Christmas hymn, Silent Night. Now it officially feels like Christmas.
Thanks to all who have assisted with West U Methodist’s Christmas Alive tradition over the years!