Lamb of God Lutheran Church will perform its live nativity Nov. 26 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at 599 E. Chandler Blvd. [Submitted photo]

The idea that set Lamb of God Lutheran's outdoor live nativity scene apart in Ahwatukee Foothills came from Pastor Scott Martz's son.

His son was in class one day several years ago and during classroom activities, a projector was bumped and the images were shot out through a nearby window. Lamb of God Lutheran sits on the edge of the desert, and the pictures were pasted to the natural rock formations just outside the window.

"(My son) insisted that the cliff and rocks were like a screen," Martz said. "I looked, and saw how good it looked. We then started to think about what else we could put out there."

The live nativity scene, which depicts the birth of Jesus Christ, has been performed by the local church for the past five years. The projection idea has added another element to a performance that already included live actors and detailed sets.

There are four stations showing the wise men; the shepherds; a 30-foot-tall animated angel projected on the cliff; and the Bethlehem scene. The set for the final scene was designed by a church member who has built sets for Hollywood films and the Superbowl, Martz said.

"It makes the Christmas account come to life," he said. "People have offered donations for it, but I guess what the whole thing is to remind people of what the scene is about, the birth of Christ."

The event has grown significantly from the early years, when it was confined to the inside of the church.

"We started out with just a booth at the Festival of Lights, with a live nativity scene," Martz said. "We moved it outside and took advantage of the surroundings. It's a unique space with the Foothills and the cliff right there."

The event is free to guests and there will be refreshments. They will also offer giveaways of Christmas-related items.

This year's event will be on Saturday, Nov. 26, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Lamb of God Lutheran Church, 599 E. Chandler Blvd. Martz said they timed the event so that residents can head over right after the nearby Festival of Lights.

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