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“A Babe is Born” live Christmas nativity benefits local refugees

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Christmas is a time for celebration and giving. This spirit of giving is more than exchanging gifts. It's also about gathering together and sharing with others. The giving spirit of Christmas is alive in Lehi, Utah.

A Babe is Born is a live nativity in Lehi that offers an opportunity to journey back in time and witness the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ. The experience is unique as refugees and families come together to create a loving reenactment of the birth of the Christ child. A Babe is Born radiates the splendor of the Nativity story while giving back to refugees in need.

The nativity features live animals from a nearby farm, including goats, bunnies, sheep, a donkey, llamas, and horses. The presentation provides an immersive and moving experience for everyone. It also offers the opportunity to give back to the community and for all to learn from the stories shared in the nativity. The actors' and volunteers' love and kindness generate a sense of togetherness and make the event memorable. Many of the volunteers and actors are refugees.

Matt Flake is one of the creators of A Babe is Born. Flake and his partner, Joe Coccimiglio, hope to give the community and refugees an opportunity to come together, celebrate the holiday, and “give.”

“We wanted something hands-on for the community and also a way to raise money specifically for refugees locally as well as those in need in other countries,” said Flake.

A Babe is Born was first organized four years ago and held at the Lehi Rodeo Grounds. Peck's farm property has been the location for the last three years.

“The Peck family is amazing, and they help us in every way to make this a successful event. Renting their property gives us an ideal location, and their generosity makes it possible to hire as many local refugees as needed for the production,” said Flake.

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“It is very hands-on, and the kids love it. There are a lot of animals and activities. You aren't rushed through, and you can really take the time to enjoy the experience,” he added.

Last year, A Babe is Born raised over $60,000 to aid refugees through sponsors, ticket sales and donations. This year, an additional cause will be supported as proceeds from the closing night will be donated to the Utah Down Syndrome Foundation—many families that work with the foundation plan to volunteer on closing night.

“The highlight for me is the kids and seeing their smiles as they touch and pet the animals, especially when they get to the end and see baby Jesus,” said Flake.

According to Flake, approximately 5,000 people visit the nativity each year.

Paul Ajayi, a nativity cast member, is originally from Nigeria; this is his first year participating with A Babe is Born.

Ajayi said, “I wanted to give of my time and serve for a better purpose. This is a real opportunity for me and my family to give back, and it's so wonderful for everyone to come and see. I love the animals that are here, but I really love the shepherd that is portrayed. The shepherd watches the animals and is peaceful. We can learn from that, especially during this season as they share peace.”

Tickets and information to experience the spirit of Christmas are available at https://www.ababeisborn.org/. A Babe is Born is located at 1174 South 1700 West in Lehi and runs December 15 – 19. The adult ticket price is $12 and children are $10.

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