LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KARK) — A Little Rock church brought in live animals for one of its Christmas Eve services, recreating a live nativity scene. It also required masks amid rising omicron variant concerns.
Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church in Little Rock brought in a donkey, camel and other animals for its 4 p.m. family service.
“I would say the donkey’s my favorite one,” said Rhys Cook, a young boy who came with his family to the service.
The yearly live-animal service was postponed last year amid COVID-19 concerns, and hundreds attended this year. They were required to wear masks per church policy.
“We just want everyone to be safe,” said Michael McMurray, a spokesperson for the church. “We want to continue to be able to be together.”
Arkansas reported its highest COVID-19 case count since September on Friday. The omicron variant spreads more rapidly than previous versions, health experts said, and it makes up the majority of new cases.
Church leaders said they want to keep Christmas Eve from becoming a source for spread amongst its congregants, especially since many children can’t yet get vaccinated.
“It really looks like we’re going through another wave,” McMurray said.
With guidelines in place, leaders said they hope kids enjoyed the day and can look back on it fondly in the future.
“Merry Christmas!” Cook said.