Paula Williams: Conrad Memorial brings back outdoor Christmas scenes
It has always been the task of local Christian congregations to both glorify God and to make the good news of Jesus Christ known in their respective communities. My church family at Conrad Memorial Baptist has a long history of sharing the Christmas story here in High Point with live outdoor scenes.
These scenes began when the church was still located on Eastchester Drive where Wesleyan Education Center now has facilities. When Conrad moved to its current location on N. Centennial Street across the street from Wesleyan Education Center in 1978 with its set-up of drives that circle the church, live outdoor scenes soon became a fixture in that High Point community.
In fact, people from all over High Point would come and drive through the scenes each year. Many shared with church members that this was an annual holiday event for their families. When my own family moved to Conrad in 1996, the scenes quickly became one of our favorite outreach activities (yes, even on cold December nights!). To see families drive through, stop at each scene, and see them reading the biblical story of each scene to their children inside the car was so touching. Those scenes were a wonderful way of sharing Christ’s love and making Him famous in our community and in our city.
It has been almost a decade, however, since Conrad has had the interest and number of people needed to pull off building the sets and manning the scenes. We did set up and man one scene on the corner of Centennial and Beaucrest Avenue about five years ago, but even that has not happened now for several years.
So I am excited to tell you that, after a long absence, Conrad’s Live Outdoor Drive-Through Scenes are back! It is amazing that we have young adults, children, and new members who have never seen the live scenes or had the experience of being a part of them, and this year, the enthusiasm and excitement about bringing back the scenes is in the air at Conrad! For two Saturdays now, a crew of both old and young church members have been working on setting up the sets for each scene and we are almost ready.
The Live Outdoor Drive-Through Christmas Scenes are scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 20-22, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Driving through the scenes is absolutely free of charge, and we hope that you will help us spread the word and plan to drive through on one of those evenings. You will receive a brochure that will give Scripture for each scene you will see. Feel free to stop and read it at each one. The driving path will be marked by luminaries, and we believe it will be a beautiful experience that will really give you an opportunity to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas — the birth of Jesus — “born to glorify the Father, born to wear the thorns for me.”
The drive will conclude with an optional stop at a hospitality tent set up and manned by members of our church where you can get hot cider or hot chocolate and a cookie as well as information about our church. For the first time in our scenes history, we will also have bags of canned goods to distribute to families who may need it this holiday season.
Why bring back this endeavor after all these years? Why do something like this again in 2012? I am convinced that it is for no other reason other than the effort to be the church that God intends us to be — a church in our community that cares and shares and wants our community on N. Centennial Street as well as our city to know that we serve a great and mighty God who has a plan of redemption for everyone, no matter their race, culture, or socioeconomic status. We have been delighted to partner with Montlieu Elementary to provide school uniforms and angel tree gifts at Christmas for Montlieu families as well as to have Montlieu families come and join us in worship and fellowship. We hope the scenes will be a continuation of this reaching out process. There is no greater assignment for any church family.
So whether you have lived in High Point for a while and remember driving through Conrad’s outdoor Christmas scenes or whether you have never had the experience, on behalf of my church family, I invite you to drive through and be blessed with a moving experience as you recall with us the great love of God demonstrated by the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ. We hope to see you there! God bless you and your family during this Advent season!
Paula Gulledge Williams lives in High Point and teaches at Pilot Elementary School in Greensboro. Her columns appear on this page every other Thursday. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.