Re-Live The Birth Of Christ At The Live Nativity Scene At Messiah Lutheran Church

By: Scott Noble 0 Comments   12/13/2012

SARTELL - With all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, one church wants people to slow down and be the recipients of a simple gift, the gift of Jesus.

For the 24th year in a row, Messiah Lutheran Church in Sartell will host its live nativity scene, a popular event in the St. Cloud area.

This year, it will be held on Sunday, Dec. 16 from 5:00 p.m. to about 7:30 p.m., depending on the weather.

The goal from the beginning, said the Rev. Brady Finnern—who has been at the church for twond-half years—has been about the nativity scene being “a gift to the community.”

“The goal has never been like, ‘Hey, let’s promote the name of Messiah Lutheran Church’ or [make it an evangelism type of thing],” he said. “The reality [is we] want to present a gift of the Christmas story to the community.”

There are between 60 and 70 people who work on the nativity scene, including those who help with set-up, take-down and clean-up.

Another goal of the event is to “involve multiple generations,” Finnern said. Younger kids serve as angels while adults serve in other nativity scene capacities.

“It all runs itself,” Finnern continued, since the church has been doing the event for so long. Everyone knows his or her duty and can carry it out without a lot of oversight or direction.

“[It’s a] very calm night of being together in multiple generations,” he said.

In addition, several animals take part in the event. Nativity scene participants work in shifts usually 30 to 60minutes long.

Those who visit the event will park their cars and get out. “The Christmas Story” will be played on a loud speaker, and the Star of David will be elevated; it can be seen from quite a distance, according to Finnern.

In the end, Messiah Lutheran Church just wants people to focus on Jesus.

“The church is about Jesus, and we want to give Jesus to the community,” he said. “It’s such a busy, busy time during the Christmas season, we’ll give you Jesus. [Instead of giving people more of this or that], come in here, no donations are taken, the food is for you, the time is for you, all that stuff is for you. It’s just a gift.”

And that’s been the case from the beginning, more than two decades ago.

For more information about the live nativity scene at Messiah Lutheran Church, call (320) 252-5883 or visit

The church is located at 320 4th Avenue North in Sartell.

This is a great event for the entire family to see live animals and real people in scenes just like the day Jesus was born.

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