4329 Tokay Boulevard, Madison WI 53711 | info@midvalelutheran.org

(608) 238-7119

Madison WI Live Nativity

Live Nativity

All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” - Matthew 1:22-23

“God is with us” in the baby Jesus born in a manger. He is wrapped in swaddling clothes and surrounded by Joseph and Mary. We have the animals gathered around, and outside that small stable we have the angels keeping watch over this holy family. The shepherds and magi visit. This is a special time.

Walk or drive by, and stop in to take a photo and have some refreshments. Make this part of your family’s Christmas tradition!

2017 dates are:

  • Saturday, December 9: 5:45-7:00pm
  • Sunday, December 17: 9:15-10:15am
  • Sunday, December 24: 3:45-5:00pm

Volunteer to be in the scene, to set up (Sat., Dec. 9 at 9am) or take down (Sat., Dec. 30 at 9am) the nativity: 608-238-7119 or info@midvalelutheran.org. All are welcome!


Reenactment of the live Nativity has had a long history at Midvale Community Lutheran Church.

For our first Christmas in the then “new sanctuary” in 1958, the Luther League youth recreated the nativity out-of-doors. Seven youth participated, with narration by Maurice White and music by the senior choir. Live sheep and a burro from the Disch flock at Evansville were also part of the scene.

According to the section “The Runaway Sheep” in Forests, Farms and Families: A History of the Midvale Heights Neighborhood, during the founding Pastor Sandrock’ s tenure, one of two live sheep made a run for it. Two teenaged shepherds sprinted into action, retrieving the runaway!

The live nativity was repeated in 1959, followed by an indoor Christmas Eve pantomime in 1960. Then, for a number of years, the church displayed life-sized statuary nativity figures.

In 1980, the present outdoor nativity was established. The first stable for the series was built by charter member Ray Blanch and used through 2006. The second stable and the one currently in use was an Eagle Scout project of David Schultz, who was helped by many volunteers.

With the exception of 2009, when the sanctuary was being remodeled and we worshipped in the Fellowship Hall, there has been a live nativity every year since 1980.

The importance of the live nativity reenactment is:

  • In remembrance of God’s gift of Jesus 
  • Our gift to the wider community, and
  • Our gift to one another at Midvale.

Many families and individuals have participated in the work of evangelism over the years - setting up and taking down the stable, making costumes, helping participants dress, picking up and returning live sheep early in Midvale’s history and again in 2003 (from A-Z farm in Oregon), setting up lighting and sound systems, and bringing and serving food to participants and visitors.

Make the Live Nativity a part of your family’s Christmas tradition.