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Magical experience
Church brings Christmas story to life
2 Nativity pic1
Angels and shepherds were on hand to welcome baby Jesus to Bethel Baptist Churchs live nativity Friday night. The church presented an elaborate, full-scale production depicting the story of Christ. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

The reason for the season was showcased Friday and Saturday night as the congregation at Bethel Baptist Church presented an elaborate, full-scale production depicting the story of Christ.

Kelly Crane and her 6-year-old son Hayden were among the first in line Friday night for the hayride through about 40 acres behind the church, where the 13-scene production was staged.

Afterwards, she called the experience "magical."

"We always go out and look at the lights as a Christmas treat, so this is the first year we've come here," she said. "And I'm so glad we did. It's just magic to see the Christmas story come to life and they portrayed it so beautiful.

"I had tears in my eyes. It was fantastic."

Nadelyn Owens of Dahlonega was also moved by the production, which began with the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, followed by Jesus' birth and continuing through His life and crucifixion. It concluded with Jesus rising to heaven.

"It's amazing. They definitely put a lot into it," she said. "I believe that the Lord uses so many different things to teach people about him, and I definitely think he does that through this."

Director Tracy Phillips said the live nativity, which is in its 25th year, is the congregation's way of emphasizing the true meaning of Christmas.

"That's what this is all about, reminding everyone that [Jesus] is the reason for the season," Phillips said.

An estimated 1,500 people attended the weekend event that involves the entire church congregation, their friends and families.