Christmas Nativity Event Still Kicking at Massachusetts State House

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Jim Lyons is now the chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party, but his annual Nativity event at the Massachusetts State House lives on as a Christmas tradition.

The event at the State House is now hosted by state Representative Marc Lombardo (R-Billerica) of the 22nd Middlesex House District.

Lyons, of Andover, who represented the Essex 18th House District from 2011 to 2019, was one of many who attended the fourth annual Christmas commemoration at the Great Hall in the State House in Boston on Thursday. Lyons and Lombardo both spoke at the gathering.

The centerpiece of the event is a nativity scene, representing the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. In 2016, the Bureau of the State House rejected Lyons’s plan to put a nativity scene on the State House lawn. His subsequent request to put it inside the building instead was accepted.

When Lyons lost his November 2018 re-election bid, it was uncertain if the Christmas Nativity event would continue. But it has, thanks to Lombardo and several pro-family organizations, including the Massachusetts Family Institute, Renew Massachusetts Coalition, and Massachusetts Citizens for Life.

“It’s wonderful,” Lyons told New Boston Post. “Representative Lombardo picked up the mantle and his staff, our staff, Renew, Mass. Citizens for Life, and others have all joined forces to make this a great event. We have a great crowd here and we’re very excited we’re able to bring the real message of Christmas to Beacon Hill. That’s the reason we’re doing it.”

“The foundation of our country was founded on religious freedom and freedom of expression as our First Amendment rights,” he added. “It’s important to be able to do it in Beacon Hill in this building.”

Sitting atop the highest hill in Boston, the original portion of the Massachusetts State House was finished in 1798. The cornerstone of the building was laid by Samuel Adams and Paul Revere.

While most people think of the gold dome, the red brick facade, the columns, and the balustrade along the roofline, on the inside the building is famous for its Great Hall, the Hall of Flags, and the Sacred Cod wooden sculpture in the House of Representatives chamber, among other things.

The Nativity event — which went from noon p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Thursday, December 19 — featured singing performances from 24-year-old Tewksbury resident Brian McCauley, who is legally blind, and the New England Christian Youth Chorus. Dave, Phil, and John Skinner also played music.

Additionally, pastors attended the event to read biblical verses about the birth of Jesus to those in attendance.

Pastor Stephen Derrick of Greenville Baptist Church of Rochdale in the town of Leicester read Matthew 1:18-25; Pastor Jeff Bailey of Grace Baptist Church of Attleboro read Luke 2:1-16; and Reverend Gerald Souza of Fatima Parish of Sudbury and St. Bridget of Maynard, read Matthew 2:1-12.

“It goes back to the message of Christmas and of peace, hope, and love,” Lyons said. “That’s what we as a country have to foster again. We’ve lost sight of that a bit.”

In addition to Lyons and Lombardo, state Representatives Angelo Scaccia (D-Hyde Park, 14th Suffolk), Joseph McKenna (R-Webster, 18th Worcester), Nicholas Bodyga (R-Southwick, 3rd Hampden), and David DeCoste (R-Norwell, 5th Plymouth) stopped by the event, as did former state representative and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Geoff Diehl of Whitman.

Those in attendance at the event said they were grateful to have politicians in the state who supported the event.

“It takes boldness these days,” Chris McKinley, who came down from Manchester, New Hampshire for the event, told New Boston Post. “They’re living in a culture that is hostile to what they believe, and I applaud them for it.”

“Religious expression is a bedrock of our constitution, and our country started here in New England,” he added. “The Pilgrims were fleeing tyranny coming to a land where they could worship without fear of persecution. I think we’re just going back to our roots.”

Another, Domingo, a Boston resident who asked that his last name not be used, ≈was a first-time attendee. He said being able to come to the event made him “very happy”.”

“As a Catholic, I read the Bible and know what Christmas is all about,” he told New Boston Post. “It’s wonderful that other people can understand and get together. We have so much division under Trump, but Trump wants to unite the country. We need to pray that we can come to a consensus. It’s good to have events like today where people come together. America needs to be one, not two.”


New England Christian Youth Chorus sings.

Photos by Tom Joyce for New Boston Post.

Brian McCauley sings, above.