Annual Nativity Processional in Cranbury returns on Dec. 8

The First Presbyterian Church of Cranbury's Nativity Processional in 2018.

Cranbury is kicking off the Christmas season with a nativity processional, an annual tradition in the community.

This event on Dec. 8, which is organized by the First Presbyterian Church of Cranbury and is led by the church’s children-in-youth, who will be dressed up to present the birth of Jesus.

“The children-in-youth lead the nativity processional and their families join in. It is a real family event,” said Daune Arsnow, a church official. “With the children-in-youth we have children representing Mary and her husband Joseph and we also have a pony with them. We [also] have a star, angels, shepherds and sheep represented by the children.”

The children will gather at 84 North Main St. and will begin to walk down Main Street at 9:45 a.m.

“Periodically they stop on the route and the angels proclaim the good news,” Arsnow said. “When they get to the Cranbury Inn, [the child playing] Joseph asks the inn owner if there is any room and the inn owner turns them away. The processional continues to the front of the church on 22 South Main where we have our sanctuary.”

The families and the children-in-youth, dressed in their costumes, go inside the church to the sanctuary in the front.

“From there, the families and children start caroling for about 15 minutes and afterward the church’s service begins,” Arsnow said.

“The pony does not get to come in, but a live photo is taken of this nativity scene in the front of the church. It is just beautiful to see,” she added.

She said the children enjoy being figures in the nativity processional and scene.

“The children-in-youth just love being in this and their families get to walk alongside them. A lot of people watch on the side of the road by the Cranbury Inn,” Arsnow said. “We want the whole town to come out and see it.”

She explained that the processional is a great way for people to come together and be involved.

“I hope people can takeaway from the nativity processional the joy of this season and the wonderful experience of being a part of the Cranbury community,” Arsnow said.