TABOR CITY, N.C. (WBTW) – A decades-long Christmas tradition is back this year, bigger and better than ever, just up the road from Loris, outside Horry County.
Drive past the state line into Tabor City, North Carolina, and you’ll find a rare and unique collection like no other.
Thousands of nativity scenes pack Rodney Gore’s downtown Tabor City shop, displaying the birth of Jesus Christ.
Gore’s nativity collection started 45 years ago. He’s collected nearly 3,000 nativity scenes from flea markets, art sales, gifts, among other places over the decades.
This Christmas, his collection keeps growing, adding 150 new additions, spreading a message for all to hear.
“Without Jesus, there wouldn’t be no Christmas, without Jesus, the world would be black. So Christ lives, he lives in my life, I hope he lives in your life because without him we are nothing,” nativity set collector Rodney Gore said.
Every nativity scene is different, but Gore says all symbolize the true meaning of Christmas.
After being hospitalized during two major medical emergencies, he says it’s a miracle he recovered in time to share the Christmas story.
“I had a triple bypass on the 23rd, I came home the next week, and then on Sunday, I got sick again,” Gore said. “I had two bad surgeries within 12 days, but God still gave me hope, and today he says I’m not finished with you yet.”
Gore is spreading hope this year, he says the pandemic has taken lives and loved ones, but the Christmas message is the same today as it was many years ago.
For as long as he’s able, Gore says, he’ll share the message of Jesus Christ with the world.
“It’s been a little hard because everybody, I think their mind is on making a living, getting toys, getting things for the kids, and this gets pushed behind, but still Baby Jesus, he’s still there,” Gore said.
Gore is still taking visitors by appointment, 910-640-8701.
There’s no charge to get in, but donations are welcomed.