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“And the Word became flesh and lived among us.”
John 1:14 NRSV
For over four decades, First Baptist Church has staged a Live Nativity on the front lawn of the church house as a Christmas gift to Middlesboro.
Over the course of those 40 years, visiting the FBC Live Nativity has become an annual tradition for people of all ages and stages of life in Middlesboro.
We begin the evening at 6:00 PM in the Sanctuary with our annual service of Lessons, Carols, and Candlelight.
This is a simple and traditional Christmas service in which a series of Scripture readings (Lessons) tell the story of Jesus’ birth, beginning with the Old Testament prophets and ending at a manger in Bethlehem. In amongst the readings, we sing songs of the season (Carols). Some years the Joyful Ringers hand bell choir plays, and other years the FBC Sanctuary Choir sings. There is often a solo or duet. The service lasts about 45 minutes, and ends with the singing of Silent Night, the lighting of small handheld candles, and a procession out to the front lawn where John 1:1-5, 14, the final Scripture Lesson, is read.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. … And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”
The service of Lessons, Carols, and Candlelight draws to a close at 6:45 PM on the front steps and sidewalk of the church house with the lighting of the FBC Live Nativity. We carol. We sip cider. We enjoy the manger scene and conversation with one another.