Carlisle showed the meaning of Christmas with the lighting of the nativity, sponsored by the Carlisle Altruistic Club, in front of BancorpSouth on Monday night.

The Finest Forte, directed by Jo McCallie, performed "Mary, Did You Know" and "Do you Hear What I Hear."

Carlisle Methodist Church Minister Ryan Rush gave a devotional about the nativity scene.

"I love having this here," Rush said.

He explained that the nativity scene is Jesus with his parents Mary and Joseph and the three wise men coming to see Jesus and bringing him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. He said one of the greatest things about the nativity is that it’s standing in front of a bank, because a bank is a place that draws people together to bring their money in and out. So, he explained, when people come to the bank they see the holy family, who probably couldn’t even afford to have a bank account.

He said we couldn’t forget how God helps the less fortunate and takes those lesser and makes them greater.

"This is a living witness for us," Rush said.

Rush encouraged everyone to help each other and help those less fortunate. The lighting was just the start of Christmas activities in downtown. After the nativity lighting, the crowd made their way to the fire station for the chamber’s annual hamburger/hot dog brown paper sack dinner. Chamber board member Beth Plafcan estimated the chamber fed between 250 and 300 people.

"[I am] so thrilled with the turn out and appreciate all who came to the supper and supported the chamber. The mild weather brought out what appeared to be a record number of spectators," Plafcan said.

For entertainment, the Carlisle ABC pre-kindergarten classes performed Christmas songs in front of the fire station.

Sides of streets began filling with citizens of all ages waiting for the parade to begin. While waiting attendees ducked into open stores and visited with each other. The parade, led by a police car displaying it’s blue lights, included churches, businesses, boy scouts, 4-wheeler riders, pre-kindergartners, Mayor Ray Glover and wife Vickie, Carlisle High School Band, Carlisle Junior High Cheerleaders and ended with Santa. and Mrs. Claus.

"The 2012 downtown Christmas was a huge success this year. We had over 20 entries and each and everyone was unique and festive," Chamber secretary/parade organizer Fever McElyea said.

Plafcan said the parade entries were great and people really loved having the pre-k students perform downtown.

McElyea thanked all participants, volunteers and citizens for making this year a success. Plafcan added the chamber is especially thankful for the junior and high school students, who volunteered time to help with the meal and parade.

"They worked hard and really helped us get through a very busy night. We are just glad the weather was great and that Carlisle citizens are so supportive," Plafcan said.

To end the night, children lined up at Fever’s Sassystore to tell Santa their wish list for Christmas and get their picture taken with him and Mrs. Claus.