Canby Foursquare Church will be doing its part to help celebrate and spread the true meaning of Christmas with the return of its annual Journey to Bethlehem event, which will include a drive-thru biblical display, lights and a visit from St. Nick himself.
Church leaders conceived the drive-thru concept last year as an answer to gathering-size restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, and while things have loosened up somewhat this year organizers felt it was still the right call.
“We have been trying our best to try and stay in step with Covid regulations and trying to keep everyone safe, but still trying to make Christmas happen, you know?” explained Youth Pastor Ryan Egli.
“With the drive-thru event, you don’t have to worry about getting out of your car or putting your mask on; you just stay in the comfort of your car where it’s warm.”
Despite the restrictions in 2020, it was important to church leaders to offer some fun and hope to their community in the midst of a challenging year, and Egli feels that is just as needed — if not more so — in 2021.
“People kind of need Christmas, especially this year,” he said. “I think there’s even more going on this year than last year, even though we didn’t think that would be possible, and we just wanted to make sure we had something for families to participate in and get in the Christmas spirit.”
Like last year’s event, the 2021 version will guide participants through a 16-panel retelling of the biblical birth of Jesus, featuring new artwork and scripture. The church has upped their game in the lights department, Egli said, adding thousands more twinklies to make their display really sparkle.
Part of the church parking lot will be done up to resemble Santa’s workshop, complete with snow machine, and kids and families will have the option of leaving their vehicles to visit the jolly old elf in person if they feel comfortable.
Canby Fire District personnel will also be on hand again this year, displaying the antique fire engine and handing out goodie bags jam-packed with ornaments, hot cocoa, candy and other goodies to all participants.
The bags were prepared with all appropriate sanitary measures in place, Egli said, with staff and volunteers wearing masks and gloves.
“We just wanted families to have a safe, fun way to experience Christmas — without having to pay for it,” he said.
Canby Foursquare’s free Journey to Bethlehem event will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, December 22.
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