An interactive Christmas story experience is taking place at Central Baptist Church in Conway, Arkansas.
Participants of the church’s Drive Through Christmas, in the comfort of their vehicles, travel through “Bethlehem” to where Jesus laid in a manger.
Along the way, participants encounter other travelers and the wise men, pass by King Herod’s palace, pay taxes at the city gates, drive through a bustling marketplace, see the shepherds with their sheep and visit the inn.
Ben South, associate pastor of education and missions, said church members, in character, interact with participants.
This includes giving them a “gold” coin to pay their taxes when stopped by “soldiers” at the city gates.
Participants at one point are also asked if they have a reservation for the inn and given the option of a “KOJ,” Kampground of Judea, if there are no rooms available.
Scripture is also displayed throughout the experience. Parents are encouraged to read it aloud to their children and discuss it.
“It’s an interactive, fun night to experience the Christmas story,” South said,
Before beginning the journey of Jesus’ birth, participants can listen to carolers and are offered hot cocoa to enjoy as they are immersed in the Christmas story.
Gift to the community
Drive Through Christmas began in 2019.
South said the 2020 event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they resumed in 2021. This is the third year for the event.
“We do Drive Through Christmas as a gift to our community during the Christmas season,” South said. “We want those who come through to experience a little bit of the hope of Christmas and enjoy the evening as a family. This is a great event for families with younger children because there is no need to leave their vehicle or keep up with kids running around.”
The experience is set from 6 to 8 p.m. through Friday, depending on the weather, and will take about 30 minutes to complete.
Participants receive a Christmas devotional booklet at the end of the experience, along with an invitation to attend church.
South said they estimate more than 100 cars with more than 400 people came through one night before they had to close due to the rain. They anticipated larger crowds the following nights.
South said one of the best parts of the event is seeing the church family come together to make it happen.
“The church family working together can accomplish so much more than a few individuals,” South said.
For updates on the event, check out the Central Baptist Church in Conway Facebook page.