Baptist Temple Church in Fall River, Mass., has launched its live nativity scene for the 2013 holiday season and features in its online photo gallery of the setting Santa Claus, in full costume, bowing to a baby Jesus.
The "family-friendly" Baptist church's new take on the nativity scene meant to depict the biblical account in Luke 2 of Jesus' birth, was so unusual that it warranted coverage in the local press.
Baptist Temple Church on Sunday, Dec. 15, set up its actors and props outside of the church for a "Living Nativity," according to The Herald News.
The pastor's wife, Shirley Johnson, told the publication she was inspired by a figurine she saw 25 years ago that portrayed Santa in a bowing position.
"It struck me as a powerful message, so I had the vision in my heart to do this scene live — and it all worked out for us to do it this year," Johnson said.
The pastor's wife added that the church's nativity scene with Santa bowing to Jesus goes against the materialistic trend that sometimes seems to overshadow the true meaning of Christmas for Christians.
"That's why we're showing Santa bowing the knee to baby Jesus," Johnson explained. "We all need to bow the knee."
While Santa joined Jesus, Mary, Joseph, two wise men and a shepherd for the "Living Nativity," there were no live animals used in the presentation.
"Baptist Temple Church is a family-friendly church — a church where people can find and enjoy Christ together in community with one another," reads a statement on the church's website. "Using God's infallible Word as our only 'yardstick,' every worship service, Bible study, special event, celebration, or mission we undertake must not fall short of, violate, replace, or dishonor Scriptural standards. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)"
Visit the Baptist Temple Church's official website for more information on its unique live nativity scene featuring Santa bowing to baby Jesus: www.baptisttemplechurch.org.
Here is a photo of the live nativity scene featuring Santa Claus bowing to a baby Jesus in a manger.