Go on a Nativity Quest this weekend.
It's a real thing.
My Church Sahuarita has run one of these Christmas quests for 10 years.
They started it in 2007 as a way to make the community of Sahuarita feel more like home.
"We were trying to do something that would build tradition here in Sahuarita because everyone is from somewhere else down here," said the church's pastor Dustin Farmer. "They went home for the holidays, and then 2008 came and everything went kaput with the economy. No one could go home. What could we do around here to build a 'this is home' reality for people?"
They opted to make their quest into a tradition the community could share.
Here's how Nativity Quest works.
You begin in the parking lot of Sahuarita Lake Park, 15468 S. Rancho Sahuarita Blvd., and receive a packet with driving directions to four scenes depicting stories of heroes from the Bible.
At each house, you'll park in the driveway and watch a scene unfold in the garage along to an audio narration you can stream from your phone or listen to on a CD you can get with your packet.
The scenes are different each year. This year, actors will present Noah (of Noah's ark), Gideon (a warrior from the Old Testament book of Judges) and Esther (a Jewish woman who saved her people from genocide). The final scene — and culmination of your quest — is the Nativity, complete with a few real animals.
You'll see Christmas lights, and the church will serve hot chocolate and apple cider before and after the quest. All of it is free.
"Each year, the focus is getting to the Nativity, that Jesus came and all of that," Farmer said. "Leading up into that, we are on a journey through the Bible getting ready for the coming of Jesus, and that's where Nativity Quest came from."
Accounting for traffic and the two minutes it takes to watch each scene, Farmer said it takes about 45 minutes to an hour to drive the approximately five-mile route.
"It's something to do at Christmas time to see the lights and hear the story that God has been telling for thousands of years..." Farmer said. "It's something we think is a service to the community."
If you go
What: Nativity Quest, a drive-through Nativity scenes.
When: 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14, Friday, Dec. 15, Saturday, Dec. 16. Farmer recommends going on Thursday, if you can swing it. Less traffic.
Where: Starts at Sahuarita Lake Park parking, 15468 S. Rancho Sahuarita Blvd., in Rancho Sahuarita.
Cost: Free, but the church is collecting non-perishable items for the food bank in Green Valley.
More info: Visit mychurchaz.com/nativity-quest.
Other live Nativities to check out
• Journey Through Bethlehem at Tucson Baptist Church, 1525 S. Columbus Blvd., takes you through King Herod's palace and a marketplace, following the journey of the wise men. The free tours are 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14, Friday, Dec. 15 and Saturday, Dec. 16. For more information, visit christmas.tucsonbaptist.com or call 748-1525.
Follow the journey of the wise men into a marketplace and King Herod's palace.
• A Living Nativity by GracePointe: An Evangelical Free Church includes carolers and free walk-through tours 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15, Saturday, Dec. 16 and Sunday, Dec. 17 at 2555 W. Valencia Road. Visit gracepointetucson.org or call 883-3281 for more information.
• Journey to Bethlehem at Christ Presbyterian Church, 6565 E. Broadway, is a free production including food, a petting zoo and activities for kids and 9:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 24. The pageant and live Nativity begins at 10:45 a.m. Visit cpctucson.org or call 886-5535 for more information.