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Wilroy Baptist brings back its panorama

A Suffolk Christmas attraction is getting ready to return for another year.

Wilroy Baptist Church will host its annual three-night drive-through panorama. The community is encouraged to drive through from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Dec. 18-20, at 306 Williams Road.

Many Suffolk residents have celebrated the Christmas season by driving through Wilroy Baptist Church’s panorama for many years.

“This is a gift for the community as a reminder of what the season is about,” said Sheila Morris, one of the head volunteers who has set up the event the past few years. “We want to remind people that even in COVID, God is still in control and loves us and is the real reason for Christmas.”

Past years have also been a drive-through format, which is convenient for the unique case of Christmas 2020. The goal in the past was to load up cars where everyone could stay warm and drive through to see the scenes of Jesus’ life. This year is not so different — now, viewers can stay in their cars to keep their distance and still view the scenes.

The one main difference is that there will be fewer scenes to allow fewer actors to gather and to properly distance. Past years have had around eight sets, where this year will only have five. The scenes will be portrayed by families or those who have regular contact with each other already. For example, the nativity will consist of an engaged couple as Mary and Joseph, and their brother and sister-in-law as the shepherds. Other scenes will include the Wisemen, the crucifixion, the empty tomb, and Jesus’ ascension.

“We wanted to at least have something this year,” said Morris. “We want to reflect the message that Jesus did die for us to have eternal life and answer questions that people may have about how to have that guarantee.”

Viewers can enter at the front entrance of the church parking lot. There they will receive a handout with information on each scene and the Bible verses that go along with it. In the end, viewers will receive a goodie bag with candy canes as a thank you for coming. A minister will also be available for anyone with questions or who wants to talk about the meaning of the panorama scenes.

“You don’t know who will be affected by and touched by this,” said Morris. “If we make one person’s Christmas or tell them what the season is all about, it will be all worth it.”