Since 1953 churches in Santa Monica have set up stationary nativity scenes to celebrate Jesus at Christmas time. Last year, however, an atheist group opposed the nativity scenes and eventually the city banned them all together.
This year a new tradition began! The city of Santa Monica granted permission for churches to have a living nativity scene in the park where the scenes had been banned!
I was given the honor and responsibility of organizing the first week's festivities. Beginning Monday, December 3rd, through Friday, the 5th, we were out from 7-9pm sharing the love of Christ, and the joy of Christmas!
As the director of Models For Christ here in LA I was able to help mobilize fashion professionals to be a part of the outreach. A leader at MFC generously sewed the costumes of the Bible characters, and a local film studio let us borrow whatever costumes we didn't have time to make. Our MFC family acted as the nativity characters each evening!
Along with our live nativity we had free coffee, cocoa, and baked goodies. YWAM students sang carols and ministered to people. On Tuesday night the beautiful Paradosi Ballet Company from Washington performed. Shaun's skaters from the Calling All Skaters DTS dressed in full Christmas garb and evangelized like crazy- Everyone LOVED watching them skate. My Beauty Arise girls directed the evenings' events and also handed out candycanes with scriptures to pedestrians. It was a party every night!
It didn't take long before the media got involved. Monday and Tuesday news crews came to interview us and document the event. Tuesday night Jay Leno talked about the nativity scene on his show. By Friday our nativity scene outreach had been talked about on CBS, The Today Show, the Yahoo home page, The Christian Post, Huffington Post... And other news stations.
Friday night we met a gentlemen who had intended to commit suicide by jumping off the Santa Monica pier that night. On his way to the pier he passed through our celebration, where he was offered cocoa and a cookie. After a few minutes with one of our volunteers he revealed his intentions to commit suicide and was surrounded by Christians who were able to pray for him. By the end of the night he was relaxed, laughing and excited to help us serve. I overheard him exclaiming, "Jesus loves us so much, and the devil sucks!"
Every night from December 6th-December 23rd a different church or Christian group will be put on a live nativity scene for the community of Santa Monica to enjoy! The party for Jesus is still going strong!
"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Genesis 50:20