Local volunteers host live Nativity scene for Christmas

By: John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
Returning for a second set of shows, a live depiction of the Nativity scene was performed at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The performances were directed by Loralee Laycock, who also directed the first performed scene in 2019.
“This is a live depiction of the birth of Jesus Christ. We did this two years ago and then because of COVID-19 last year, we weren’t able to do it,” said Laycock.
“We’re bringing it back this year – it’s just our gift to the community and a way for us to share the message of Jesus Christ being born.”
Live depictions of the Nativity scene are not uncommon, similar events are organized in Calgary at Heritage Park and in Lethbridge, where they have been operating for over 40 and 30 years respectively.
Laycock explained seeing the performances was something she previously enjoyed doing and wanted to help bring those experiences to Strathmore.
“I’ve always loved going and as a kid, I used to go every year. The opportunity presented itself here, so we decided we wanted to bring it here to Strathmore as well,” said Laycock.
“It was a discussion between the church leaders and myself. We were trying to figure out a way to share the message of Christmas with the community.”
Four performances were scheduled on Dec. 18 and another three were held on Dec. 19. Laycock said the volunteers who helped to put it together did so with only a few rehearsals behind them.
“We had a rehearsal at the end of November and we were supposed to have a rehearsal Tuesday (Dec. 14) night, but because of the weather, we couldn’t,” she explained. “We did a rehearsal an hour before we did the show tonight and everyone are such good sports, everyone who does anything with this is a volunteer, they all just come because they love the spirit of Christmas.”
Laycock added the team insisted on performing outside not only to add to the authenticity of the scene, but also due to acquiring live animals for the performances.
Four sheep and two donkeys were loaned to the volunteers from folks residing in the Strathmore area who are part of the church congregation.
“It’s always above and beyond what I expect, not even just because of the people who are willing to spend their time and their energy to do it, but because of how no matter what hiccups we run into ahead of time, it all seems to go off without a hitch in the end,” said Laycock.
She joked that COVID-19 aside, the biggest challenge the team faced was the weather, which threatened to cancel the shows. To the relief of the volunteers, it was decided the weather was warm enough over the weekend to perform.