For 13 years, Community of Hope has presented its Living Nativity program, even as the church changed locations to 45295 W. Honeycutt Ave. Three years ago, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints next door began a traditional Creche display of scores of nativity sets from around the world.

This year, the two are joining forces to present a unique and spiritual reflection on the beginnings of Christianity. Both churches will have their programs Dec. 8 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Community of Hope Pastor Rusty Akers said both are come-and-go events, with his 14th annual living nativity cycling through several performances during the evening. Church members perform the roles in an outdoor set with narration from the New Testament.

“It’s become a Christmas tradition for many people,” Akers said. “If you’ve never been, we’d love to invite you out.”

Bishop Brian Hoffman said the Creche Festival had more than 100 nativity sets on display last year and he expects even more this year. Besides the United States, the sets come from Mexico, Israel, Europe, South America and elsewhere. The tour is self-guided and at your own pace.

“These are depictions from the life of Christ,” Hoffman said. “So, sit back and remember the purpose of the Christmas season.”

Both churches are on Honeycutt Avenue across from Maricopa High School. After visitors enjoy one program, they are invited to walk next door to experience the other. Both will have refreshments and children’s activities.

This story appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.