Though the event looked a bit different this year, Faith & Liberty D.C. continued its annual pre-Christmas celebration of hosting a live nativity in America’s capital. On Wednesday morning, people dressed as Mary, Joseph, shepherds, and wise men—all wearing face masks—processed toward the U.S. Supreme Court building. During a brief ceremony in blustery winds, participants sang hymns, and local pastors said prayers and read Scriptures, including the nativity story.
COVID-19 Changed but Couldn’t Stop the Live Nativity
Due to pandemic-related restrictions in the District of Columbia, fewer people and no animals could participate in this year’s live nativity. A live baby wasn’t featured this year either.
The event, now in its 20th year, typically draws about 100 attendees, says Faith & Liberty Vice President Peggy Nienaber. But adjustments were required because local health restrictions currently cap public gatherings at 25 people. “It’s very downscaled,” Nienaber says about the 2020 live nativity, “but we didn’t want Christmas to go past without reading the birth of Jesus Christ.”
Though the public wasn’t invited to attend in-person this year, the live nativity was broadcast on Facebook Live. Amid modern-day sounds of traffic and sirens, participants dressed in first-century garb re-enacted the first Christmas. Readers shared the news of Jesus’ birth with onlookers on D.C. sidewalks and viewers online.
“We’re here today to remind everyone what this season is about, who we need to turn to, in all these COVID times, in all this back and forth, with everything that’s going on in our world,” Nienaber said during the event. “The person that we all need to turn to is Jesus. We’re here to remind everyone that’s what this time of year is for.”
At the conclusion of this year’s live nativity, Nienaber thanked supporters for their prayers and for being flexible with all the changes and restrictions. “Next year we’ll make it even better and bigger,” she says.
Ministering to Government Officials
Faith & Liberty is the spiritual outreach arm of Liberty Counsel, a Florida-based law firm that takes on religious-liberty cases. The ministry center in Washington, D.C., located across the street from the Supreme Court building, features a statue of the Ten Commandments.
Faith & Liberty’s missions focus is on members of America’s judicial, executive, and legislative branches. According to its website, Faith & Liberty conducts much of its work “behind-the-scenes due to the positions held by those to whom we minister.” Yet it also hosts several public events, including a five-day Bible Reading Marathon every spring. The 2020 event was forced to move to September and was mostly virtual.
Online, both Faith & Liberty and Liberty Counsel have been sharing updates about alleged voter fraud in last month’s U.S. presidential election. In a November 30 letter to supporters, Faith & Liberty lead missionary Greg Cox requests prayers for the live nativity as well as “for the election and for our nation.” He adds, “For the American constitutional republic to succeed, we must have a fair and transparent election process that our citizens can trust. Pray for fraud to be exposed and truth to be revealed.”