The McLean Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Dec. 11-12 hosted a drive-through live Nativity display and food drive in the parking lot of its chapel on the corner of Great Falls Street and Kirby Road.
Displays included a manger scene and Bethlehem scenery, with shepherds, angels and Wise Men scattered throughout various areas of the parking lot, alongside more than 20,000 Christmas lights. Displays included live llamas, sheep, goats, donkeys, miniature horses, chickens and rabbits. A podcast provided narration of the Christmas story and beautiful music for those attending.
The event also included a food drive for SHARE Inc. of McLean, a local food bank operated by McLean Baptist Church.
COVID safety was a priority; attendees stayed inside their cars to view the various displays from a safe distance.
The event proved very popular, perhaps benefiting from the unseasonably warm weather. Organizers estimate that more than 1,000 cars drove through during the two nights, with multiple people in most cars, so around 3,000 people likely viewed the scenes. Two months’ worth of SHARE’s normal supply level of food items were collected.
“We sensed that many people in our community were looking for a hopeful end to the year. So we wanted to find a way to celebrate the holidays together in a festive and fun way, while maintaining a safe environment,” said event coordinator Kelcey Moriarty of Falls Church. “The drive-through Nativity fit the bill as Christmas fun for all ages. We are also thankful for all who brought food items to help those in need.”
Jim Stansel of Arlington, president of the McLean Stake – a group of eight congregations of the church in Arlington/McLean/Falls Church – noted that “the message of Christmas, and of the other holidays celebrated by numerous faith groups at this time of year, is a joyous and hopeful one.”
“We wanted to make this a neighborhood event, and were gratified that thousands of our neighbors from the local community were able to join us to celebrate,” he said. “We were particularly happy to see so many children enjoy the Nativity displays and the animals.”
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