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Members of Central Baptist Church staged the Living Nativity last year for the first time. This year, the live-action nativity will be held at Elmer Thomas Park as part of Holiday in the Park on Dec. 18, 19 and 20.

Living Nativity to be held in park

Central Baptist Church will hold its Living Nativity again this year, but instead of being at the church, the live-action nativity will be a part of the City of Lawton Parks and Recreation Department's Holiday in the Park.

The Living Nativity will take place for three nights: 6-8 p.m. Dec. 18-19 and 5-7 p.m. Dec. 20 at Elmer Thomas Park. Shepherds, wise men, angels, Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and live animals, including a camel, pygmy goats and Jacob sheep, will stage the Living Nativity  altogether there will be 60 participants and 11 animals. The nativity will be located by the concession stands, so visitors of Holiday in the Park will be able to park their cars and get close to the Living Nativity.

"Everything's alive, so it has this aura about it  where you see what may have really looked like what was there," said Keith Miles, senior pastor at Central Baptist Church. "We see all the figurines, but when you have live people and live animals  camels and sheep and all that kind of thing  it really makes it."

Last year, Central Baptist Church had its first Living Nativity at the church's soccer field. The church started the program to do something different for the community during the holiday season and Miles said there was a large number of people in attendance. This year, the City of Lawton Parks and Recreation Department approached Miles about having the Living Nativity as a part of Holiday in the Park for one weekend so more people could experience it.

"They have been very helpful," Miles said. "We've been working back and forth with the Parks Department together. We have a cast of about 60 people involved and if you consider all of the people that make it work, we have over 100 people involved. It's a big effort, but it's fun. Everyone has a good time."

According to Miles, experiencing the Living Nativity is a more fulfilling experience than seeing a still-life set.

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