The live nativity at Good Shepherd is one of central Florida’s favorite ways to celebrate Christmas. The living pageant, held the weekend before Christmas, includes both a walk-thru and a drive-thru experience. Admission is free.
The annual celebration draws thousands of visitors to Ocala each year from around central Florida. The event has grown for more than 25 years. Visitors get a tour of biblical history starting with the Garden of Eden and ending at the Empty Tomb. In this scene, visitors cross the Jordan River on dry ground.
View Scenes from the Whole History of the Bible
If this life-size replica of the Ark of the Covenant looks familiar, it’s because it was hand-made using the same design as the one you’ve seen in the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark. Those who paid attention in Sunday School may remember that the ark contained the Ten Commandments as well as Aaron’s rod and a pot of manna.
The living nativity is a production of Good Shepherd Presbyterian church and a large cast of volunteers who portray prophets, shepherds, soldiers, and notable characters from the Bible.
Visitors are invited to talk with the characters and learn more about their stories. Here a child talks to the High Priest about his role in the temple.
Celebrate Christmas with a Free Outdoor Concert
Part of the celebration includes an outdoor concert of Christmas music with local and visiting musicians. Plan to spend at least an hour or two to enjoy the full experience.
A variety of animals are included in the production, including camels, goats, donkeys and more.
The path through the nativity is lit by hundreds of luminaries, and includes tableaus such as this scene of the Three Wise Men on the road to Bethlehem.
Meet Heroes from The Bible
Along the road to Bethlehem, actors perform readings from the book of Isaiah and other prophets announcing the coming of the Messiah.
Actors in character tell stories of biblical heroes. In this scene, an actor portrays Rahab, a Canaanite prostitute who lived in Jericho and protected the spies sent from Joshua.
One of the most impressive displays at the pageant is a pillar of fire, an honest-to-goodness fire tornado, that illustrates the presence of God during the Exodus.
Visit the Town of Bethlehem and Meet Joseph and Mary
The journey continues past the little town of Bethlehem to a stable outside of the town, where visitors meet Jesus, Joseph and Mary.
The last scenes of the living nativity include the Cross and the Empty Tomb, representing the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
To see more, check out this video on YouTube:
Plan Your Visit to the Living Nativity
The Living Nativity is held on Friday and Saturday evening the weekend before Christmas. Walk-thru tours begin at 6:00 p.m. and drive-thru tours start at 7:30. A self-guided audio tour is located on the church website at https://gspcocala.com/
The church is located at 151 SW 87th Place in Ocala, Florida.