Second Baptist hosts 65th live nativity

For the past 64 years, members of the Second Baptist Church in Odessa have celebrated the Christmas season with a live nativity scene to share with the community. The church will have the opportunity to make it 65 years this December, with a slightly different look.
The 30-minute experience will be available to the public from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday and from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve at the church, located at 711 E. 17th St.
The live nativity tableau is something that members of the church look forward to every year. Given the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, Pastor Jackie Brem said that finding a way to put on the event and do so safely was even more important in 2020.
“There was concern and discussion as to whether we could pull it off and we’re going to have to do a few things differently in order to pull that off,” Brem said. “But at the same time, it’s something that has been part of what Second Baptist has been about and it’s been a gift to our community since 1955.”
The nativity scene this year will still include the usual narration of the birth of Christ along with music and live animals. This year, however, Brem added that the scene will be different as the shepherds and wise men will be spread out to comply with social distancing guidelines.
Spectators will also still be allowed, but Brem also is asking those who go to stay in their family group and keep their distance from other groups.
“It’s been a challenge to figure out how we can go about doing it in this time of COVID,” he said. “At this time, the message of hope and peace of Christmas is definitely what our community needs and what our world needs.”
Second Baptist Church member Jerry Robinson and his wife, Jency, have been part of the tableau since it first began. Jerry said that the first year they did that he was a shepherd while Jency was an angel. They’ve also stood as Mary and Joseph as well.
For both of them, standing in silence provides a moment to meditate and take everything in.
“It gives us a time to reflect on what Jesus Christ has done for us,” Jerry said. “As we listen to the music, it just feels like you’re having a spiritual renewal.”
Martha Herrington has also been one of the longtime members of the church who have participated in the annual event.
She says that she enjoys seeing the reactions of kids and families who take everything in, whether it’s for the first time or if it’s become an annual tradition.
“We feel like things will go well and we had to change so many things because of the virus but I think it will be encouraging for people to see that we’re going to do it again,” Herrington said. “It’s something positive and reinforces the spirit.”
One other addition for this year’s celebration is that people will have a chance to share their stories through social media on the church’s Facebook page. Brem added that there will also be testimonials from those who have participated in past standings to give others a chance to share their unique story.
Brem has been the lead pastor at Second Baptist since 2016 and says that being able share that experience with others is something that he cherishes ever year
“It’s so important for and it’s meant so much to me to be able to proclaim the message of Christ in our community with not just words but with the tableau.”
He added: “It’s a time of reflection to slow down from the busyness and craziness of life and the Christmas season and to reflect on the hope of the Advent story.”