It’s show time at Plainview: Church gets ready for its annual Christmas show

Published 4:13 am Saturday, December 10, 2016


Despite biting winds and near-freezing temperatures, a handful of volunteers spent Friday morning unloading hay, drilling screws and assembling a longtime Christmas tradition in the area.

The Plainview Baptist Church’s living nativity scene has been a December staple for the last 15 years, and this Saturday the once-a-year event will return once again.

The nativity scene comprises three stations, each set up in front of the church. A trail of Christmas lights leads cars through the attraction.

John Nichols, a member of the church, said the idea began with former pastor Gary Schneider, and it has grown since then. Nichols said he estimates the attraction draws in 100 cars and Deacon Roy Miley said the popularity of the tradition inspires him every year.

“The thing that always happens to me is, you always wonder, are they going to come,” he said. “Because it’s cold. Sometimes there’s a little rain and it’s misty. So right around 6 p.m., you wonder, are they going to come, or not? And then they start lining up. They get maybe six or eight cars lined up.”

Miley began to get a little emotional as he recalled the faith and determination of those who make the yuletide pilgrimage.

“One year I cried, it’s such a blessing that they come here,” he said. “It’s an awesome thing.”

Nichols said that community support is what inspires the volunteers to spend a day setting the scene, and then other volunteers spend an evening in the cold, dressed in period costumes.

“These woods are full of people who are Christian,” Nichols said.

The nativity includes a wise men station, a nativity and shepherds. In addition, there is a bonfire and the church has a tractor with a boom arm that suspends angels beneath a glowing star hung high in a pine tree overlooking the whole thing.

“They look like they’re flying,” Nichols said. “It’s very effective.”

There are also live donkeys and sheep.

Nichols said the only problem is battling the cold.

“It was pretty chilly out here this morning,” he said mid-morning Friday. “It’s comfortable now compared to what it was.”

Debbie Miley, Roy’s wife, helps with costuming. The church itself serves as the changing room, and actors work in three shifts to help prevent anyone staying out in the cold for too long. Debbie said each shift is made up of 20 actors.

“There’s probably 40 to 50 folks we use throughout the night, in addition to the workers,” she said.

To see the finished product, stop by Plainview Baptist Church on Saturday night from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The church is located at 55179 Louisiana Highway 60.