Live Nativity Events 2018
Watch the Christmas story come to life! Each year area churches host special presentations to take you back in time to experience the story of the birth of Jesus and even be a part of it. Below is Fairfax Family Fun’s annual guide to some of the “living nativity” events in our area. These events tell the story of Christmas through scenes staged with live animals, costumed “actors” (usually young church volunteers) and Bible scenes, all geared toward families of all ages, and all intended as fun events that you can enjoy at your own pace. These are all special community celebrations, not necessarily religious services, but a few of them do have a service before the living nativity. All events are free, though some will accept donations.
Please note most of these are outdoor events, so dress accordingly for the weather. Also note that this list is based on church-published info; please check official sites for updates or inclement weather cancellations. Finally, if your church is hosting a Live Nativity that is NOT yet listed here, please submit that information so we can include it. Thanks!
UPCOMING LIVE NATIVITIES 2018
Sat.-Sun., Dec. 8-9 – Bethlehem Walk at Parkwood Baptist Church, 3-7 pm
Go back in time to be warmly received by the residents of Bethlehem (watch out for the Roman Soldiers!) as you tour and see a live manger scene at the Nativity. Once you return to the 21st century you will enjoy refreshments in the Fellowship Hall with coloring books, crafts and story time for the children. This is a free yearly event open to all in the community.
Fri.-Sat., Dec. 14-15 – Harvest Church Live Nativity, 7-8 pm
Harvest Church in the Franconia neighborhood will be hosting a live nativity scene you can tour to see biblical characters, angels, and animals. Times are 7 pm, 7:30 pm, and 8 pm on both days.
Sat., Dec. 15 – Live Nativity at Sleepy Hollow UMC, 5:30-8:30 pm
Falls Church, VA
See a traditional portrayal of the birth of Jesus in a crèche, with church members portraying Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels and magi on the front lawn of the church. The event at Sleepy Hollow United Methodist Church includes live animals provided by Old Mine Ranch.
Sat.-Sun., Dec. 15-16 – Virginia Hills Baptist Church Drive-Through Nativity, 5:30-8 pm
Virginia Hills Baptist Church invites you to experience the joy of Christmas at its drive-through live nativity event. Before your journey begins, each car receives hot chocolate and a CD narration describing six dramatic scenes that depict the biblical account of the very first Christmas. From the warmth and comfort of your car, travel back to first century Judea and witness the story of Christ unfold. Virginia Hills Baptist Church is located at 6507 Telegraph Road, next to Lee District Park in Alexandria. Donations are welcome.
Sun., Dec. 16 – Vienna Baptist Church Living Nativity, 6 pm
Since Christmas 1967, Vienna Baptist Church has offered the wider Vienna community a “Living Nativity.” This annual event continues, with carols, the biblical Nativity story, costumes,and music; stay afterward for the petting zoo and refreshments in the Fellowship Hall.
Sun., Dec. 16 – Good Shepherd’s Living Nativity and Bethlehem Village, 6-8 pm
Good Shepherd United Methodist Church hosts a meaningful evening of seeing a live nativity, meeting adorable live animals, and walking the streets of Bethlehem marketplace tasting breads, dipping your own candles, beading a necklace, molding a clay pot, and more. But beware the Roman guards and tax collectors enforcing laws of the land! End your evening with homemade cookies, hot cocoa, and a family photo all while creating special memories for free.
Wed., Dec. 19 – Grace Covenant Church Living Nativity, 7:15 pm
Celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and Jesus’ birth at this family-friendly event. The live nativity is presented after a one-hour service at 7:15 pm. Hot chocolate also will be provided and childcare is available for children ages 6 months to 5 years old on a first-come,-first-served basis. The event is free and open to the public.
Sat., Dec. 22 – Sydenstricker UMC Living Nativity, 4-6 pm
Enjoy a walk in the past! Stroll through the story of the nativity and see it come to life before you. With the help of narrators and some special animal friends, church youth will act out the story of the Christmas miracle. When you arrive, go to the entrance of the nativity to get a free ticket and be assigned to a group.
Sat.-Sun., Dec. 22-23 – Living Nativity at Fairfax Circle Baptist Church, 7-9 pm
For more than 30 years, Fairfax Circle Church has been hosting a free living nativity with live animals and costumed characters, plus crafts for the kids and dinner (they’ll have several varieties of soup, drinks and desserts).
Mon., Dec. 24 – Centreville Presbyterian Church Family Christmas Eve, 4 pm
Hear the Christmas story from the children’s perspective in less than an hour at the Centreville Presbyterian’s Family Christmas Eve and Interactive Nativity, complete with live animals. Children are the center of this service and will receive a small gift to remember the event.
Other events coming up
(The following events have taken places for a few years and likely will occur again in 2018; as of the publishing of this post, however, no dates for this year have been announced yet for them.)
TBA – Living Nativity at Oakton UMC, 3-5 pm
On Christmas Eve, visit the live nativity at Oakton United Methodist Church, at the Corner of Route 123 and Hunter Mill Road. There will be fun and light refreshments provided at this free event. You can even sign up for a time to participate as one of the characters in the Live Nativity (call 703-938-1234)!
TBA – St. Mathew’s Living Nativity, 6-8 pm
Experience the true meaning of Christmas and the beauty of the night Jesus Christ was born at this outdoor event with live characters and animals, while enjoying favorite Christmas carols, hot cocoa, and candy canes. This is a free event and donations of non-perishable food items are appreciated to support the church’s Backpack Buddies program to help feed children in Loudoun County.
TBA – Christ Church Drive-Through Live Nativity, 6-8 pm
South Riding, VA
Christ Church (Anglican) hosts a drive-through live nativity with live animals and people in attire of the times. Experience the Christmas story from the comfort of your warm car at this free event. Guests get free candy canes. The church is at 25350 Poland Road (next to Sheetz).
TBA – Great Falls UMC Living Nativity, 5-6 pm
Great Falls, VA
Each year on the last Sunday of Advent, Great Falls United Methodist Church invites the community to witness the Christmas story with live animals and players presented in three 20-minute skits on the front yard.
- Some of these events may be weather-dependent; please check the official sites (links in each description) to confirm.
- If you know of a Live Nativity that is NOT yet published here, please send us that information so we may include it. Thanks!
Sun., Dec. 2, Great Falls Celebration of Lights, 6 pm
Great Falls, VA
The Great Falls Celebration of Lights, 4-6:30 pm, includes a tree lighting, petting zoo, pony rides, hot cider and hot chocolate, and the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus in an antique fire truck. A live nativity scene is presented at 6 pm. This is a free community event, held rain or shine!
Dec. 7-22 (Fridays and Saturdays) – Live Nativity at Leesburg Animal Park, 6-9 pm
With outdoor and indoor animal displays plus a playground inside, Leesburg Animal Park is open year-round. Its third annual Christmas Village includes a live nativity scene. Christmas Village takes place Friday and Saturday nights, 6-9 pm, on the most weekends in December. The celebration includes lights, bonfires and s’mores, live animals, pony rides, an indoor play area, craft room, and more; admission is $9.95 per person or free to kids under age two.
Fri.-Sat., Dec. 7-8 – Living Nativity at Hylton Memorial Chapel, 6:30-8:30 pm
This is a popular annual drive-through event that features live animals and six scenes that depict the events before and leading to the birth of Jesus. It’s presented by The Worship Center and takes place at Hylton Memorial Chapel beginning at 6:30 pm. The drive-thru event also has generous parking so the viewer can walk from scene to scene, seeing the marketplace in Bethlehem, the innkeeper’s dilemma, the shepherds keeping watch in the field, the Herald Angel, the Magi’s trip by camel, and the grand finale at the manger. Free and popular event, so arrive early!
Fri., Dec. 7 – A Night in Bethlehem by Pender UMC, 6-8 pm
Come to Bethlehem — at Pender United Methodist Church is bringing the Christmas story to life so guests can walk through the Bethlehem marketplace and living nativity and be immersed in the spirit of Christmas. Visitors will meet Bethlehem bakers, carpenters, potters, scribes, and artists as they learn about the events surrounding Jesus’ birth. At the living nativity they will see actors and live animals. This is a free family-friendly event with no RSVP required.
Sat., Dec. 8 – A Night in Bethlehem by Franconia UMC, 5-7 pm
Franconia United Methodist Church hosts its sixth annual “A Night in Bethlehem” event. At this free, all-ages, interactive event, see a living nativity and experience Old Bethlehem of the first century as you explore the marketplace.