Feature image is of the Critter Barn’s Live Nativity.
Celebrate the First Christmas at a Live Nativity
Many families include a Nativity Set as part of their Christmas decorations, and in my family, it is also kind of an “active” part in our Advent traditions. We station the animals around an empty manger on one end of the house, and place Mary, Joseph, and the donkey on the other end.
As the weeks of Advent go by, the Holy Family makes a (careful) trek across the house and ends up next to the manger by Christmas Eve. A designated child gets to put Baby Jesus in the manger Christmas morning before the presents are opened.
In a small way, this helps us to visualize the coming of Christmas and builds excitement as my kids see the figures get closer to their designation.
If you are looking for a fun way to really visualize the Nativity scene, check out a live Nativity. These scenes have real people reenacting the original Christmas scene including live animals. Some places include refreshments, live music, or a narrator retelling the Christmas story.
This could become a fun, meaningful tradition for your family.
Is your church or group hosting a Live Nativity as well? Submit your event here to get featured in our events calendar and on this list.
Where You Can Find Live Nativities in the Grand Rapids Area – 2020
Historical Live Nativity- Follow the Star
Heidi’s Farmstand and Bakery
11999 Cascade Rd SE, Lowell, MI 49331
» December 5, 2020 | 11am-3pm
You will have the opportunity to visit Mary, Joseph, Shepherds, Wise Men, and Angels dressed in historical costume and speaking in first person about their experiences surrounding Jesus’ birth. There will be live animals and a manger scene. Timed tickets are required, $1
Critter Barn 2020 Christmas Nativity
9275 Adams Street, Zeeland, MI 49464
» Tuesday-Saturday, December 9-30, 2020 | 10am-5pm
View our unique collection of photography from Bethlehem and Galilee. “Walk through” our Christmas Nativity staged with live animals! Also, enjoy a “December walk around the Critter Barn” with your family and friends. Visit cows, sheep, goats, rabbits, donkeys and more.
Star of Wonder: Journey To The Manger
14444 17 Mile Rd, Rodney, MI 49342
» December 11, 12, & 13, 2020 | 6-9pm
This drive-thru LIVE nativity is complete with actors, animals, lights, and narration.
MINI Nativity: Let’s Celebrate His Birth
6364 144th Ave, Holland, MI 49423
» December 12 & 13 and 19 & 20, 2020 | 4-6pm
Come Celebrate the Birth of Jesus through a Live MINI Nativity Scene at the mini red stable where inside the Holy Family will admire The Christ Child as The Angel, Shepherds and Wisemen also adore Him. Fell pony & Gypsy Vanner horse jingle rides will be available. $5 suggested donation/person
St. Anthony’s Live Nativity
St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Community
2510 Richmond St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
» December 12, 2020 | 5:30-7:30pm
Join St. Anthony’s For Our Own LIVE NATIVITY! Drive by viewing for everyone’s safety. This will also be live-streamed on our Facebook page. All are welcome!
Walk-Thru Live Nativity
Hillcrest Christian Reformed Church
3617 Hillcrest Rd, Hudsonville, MI 49426
» December 13, 2020 | 4-6pm
Come enjoy a walk outside to meet the animals and see the manger scene. Free hot cocoa for all and goodie bags for the kids, including the Christmas story. Dress for the weather for this socially-distanced event.
Drive Thru Nativity
St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church
1200 Seminole Rd, Norton Shores, MI 49441
» December 18, 2020 | 6-8pm
Experience the Real Story of Christmas! Start at St. Gregory’s Episcopal 1200 Seminole Rd. and travel to 4 church parking lots to see parts of the Christmas story.
Lamont CRC’s Drive Thru Live Nativity
Lamont Christian Reformed Church
4745 Leonard St, Coopersville, MI 49404
» December 18, 2020 | 5-9pm
Please enter off of Berkley.
Festival of Lights & Live Nativity
Grace Reformed Church
3330 Burlingame Ave SW, Wyoming, MI 49509
» December 19, 2020 | 5-7pm
This evening will include a walk down our fun creative decorated Christmas trees. In addition we will have our live nativity.
The Way to the Manger: A Christmas Drive-Thru Experience
Harvest – Grand Haven Campus
12900 US-31, Grand Haven, MI 49417
» December 20, 2020 | 5-9pm
A visual and audio experience including live animals, holiday lights, and the inspiring story of Christmas as we reflect on the arrival of our Savior. RSVP for a half-hour time slot per car.
Virtual Living Nativity
Hosted by Brookside CRC
» December 20, 2020 | 6pm
Join us for a viewing of the first Christmas. We’ll hear voices from the past, there will be music, actors and animals!
Drive-Thru Christmas Pageant
Crossroads Bible Church
800 Scribner Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
» December 22, 2020 | 6pm
Angels, wise men, shepherds, Mary and Joseph, and various other Christmas story characters stationed throughout our live nativity.
Christmas Eve at the Farm
11466 W Carson City Rd, Greenville, MI 48838
» December 24, 2020 | 5pm
Our little barn will feature a live nativity and our lawn with be filled with the Christmas story, your favorite Christmas music and more. Dress warmly; hot chocolate and space heaters will be available.
Christmas Eve Live Nativity
Mayflower Congregational Church
2345 Robinson Road SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
» December 24, 2020 | 5-6pm
Families will walk through the drive lined with luminaries while holding a candle and listening to caroling. Live nativity figures as well as a goat, donkey and baby yak will bring the Christmas miracle to life.