Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2004 • Nativity displays prepare hearts for Christmas

One goal of the first Nativity Open House was successfully accomplished on Saturday, Dec. 11 — people stopped and reflected on “the real reason for the season — Jesus’ birth.”

Coordinator Bill Nebeker said celebrating Jesus’ birth and getting people into the spirit of Christmas was the main reason the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held the open house.

Outside of the Richmond Road church, people dressed in period costume and acted out the traditional nativity scene of Mary, Jesus’ mother, holding him while Joseph, his earthly father watches over them. Shepherds, live animals and wise men surrounded the little family.

The Christian tradition of the Christmas story comes mainly from the New Testament Book of Luke. People visiting the open house and stopping at the live nativity heard a narrator relate the Christmas story.

Once inside the church, visitors entered a large room with tables set up displaying nativity scenes of every shape and size. Children made some creches and others were family treasures. Some were pictures while others were imported from Italy and the Holy Land.

Some of the nativities came from people in the community who do not go to our church but heard about the open house and wanted to have their nativity displayed,” said Nebeker.

He also said next year he plans to open the event to anyone in town.

As people milled quietly through the hall, a group of singers sang Christmas music to the piano.

Not only adults enjoyed the displays but children also enjoyed the nativities. Jamie and Jenae Larson oohed and aahed as their mother Jessica walked them from scene to scene.

“They are neat and pretty,” said Jenae as her sister Jamie reached out to touch a baby Jesus.