Rock Spring Presbyterian Church at 1824 Piedmont Ave NE Atlanta has been presenting a live nativity scene in the days directly preceding Christmas continuously for over 60 years. 2017 makes it 64 years in a row, the longest continuous Live Nativity in Atlanta history. On Saturday December 23rd the Live Nativity begins at 6:30pm and goes on (in half hour shifts) until 8:00pm. On Sunday December 24th, Christmas Eve, the Live Nativity starts at 6:30pm and goes 'til 8:30pm. The evening concludes with a candlelight communion Christmas eve worship service in the beautiful historic sanctuary beginning at 8:45pm.
Early each December the stable is erected in the front yard of the church directly across from Piedmont Heights neighborhood Fat Matt's Rib Shack. A split rail fence encloses the area around the stable where the live animals will be during the scene (usually sheep, goats and a donkey).During the Live Nativity Scene live costumed volunteers come out to the stable and play their parts (shepherds, kings, Mary, Joseph, Angel) as recorded music is played and scripture depicting the birth narrative of Jesus is read. This scene is repeated in half hour shifts and at the end of each scene the people viewing the Live Nativity are invited inside the church for festive food, hot drinks, fellowship and music in fellowship hall.
This Atlanta Christmas tradition is free and open to the public. Parking is at the back of the church. In addition to the Live Nativity outside and food and festivities in Fellowship Hall inside, the church sanctuary will be also be open during the Live Nativity with guided tours available. As Barbara Wright Cheshire says in her book The Spirit of Rock Spring, "It [The Live Nativity Scene] is a heart-felt gift of love from Rock Spring Presbyterian Church to the community."
Prayer Guides for Advent
Advent is an eagerly-anticipated time of year. Well, maybe, for some of us, it is a dreaded time of year. Whatever your gut reaction to Advent may be, Advent provides us with a unique opportunity for wonder, for questions, for comfort, and for spiritual exploration. It’s also the time when it’s actually OK to hear Christmas music in stores and restaurants.
Traditionally the word advent means “coming” or “arrival.” I prefer its dynamic sense: someone is on the way; someone is moving toward us with great urgency. Someone wants passionately to be among us in the ups-and-downs of our real lives, to bring new energy to our labors, our joys, our sorrows. That someone is Christ.
There is a paradox inherent in our Advent observance. We prepare ourselves for the arrival of someone who has already come. “And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7) That happened already. So what are we waiting for?
When we celebrate Communion, the celebrant declares, “Every time we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the death of our Lord Jesus, until he comes again.” Jesus has been here. Jesus is coming again.
In this mysterious in-between time, we have a renewed opportunity to wake up, to pay attention, to watch for the ways Christ is moving among the realities of our world. We also hear a voice calling us to do more than watch. For each of the four weeks of Advent, our worship team is providing you with a prayer guide in the hope of providing you with a few tools to enrich your Advent experience and your Christmas celebration. We also hope these guides will deepen your awareness of God’s love for you -- and your neighbor.
Together in Christ,