Those feeling the Christmas spirit had two opportunities to view Nativity scenes earlier this month.
In Payette, the Payette United Methodist Church put 122 Nativity scenes on display at its annual Winter Festival on Dec. 7. Activities for children included a cake walk, craft projects, face painting and a photo booth. Adults were able to buy Christmas gifts from either a Christmas shop, new at this year’s festival, or from 20 items auctioned off in a live auction.
“It’s just amazing how everybody works together,” said Glenora Wright, chairwoman for the festival. “Numbers may have been down a little but our Spirit was certainly not. Our display of one-hundred twenty-two nativity scenes, all different but all depicting the birth of our Savior graced the sanctuary with amazing beauty.”
Wright notes several Nativity sets displayed here come from all over the world, including one from India.
Approximately 150 people attended the festival, Wright saying this number was down from previous years due to the rain that weekend.
Even though gathering for food, fun and gifting is enjoyable for her, Wright says the Nativity is the main focal point of the event.
The proceeds from this event go to support local missions in the community, camp scholarships, United Methodist Men’s and Women’s groups throughout the year and world wide relief missions and disasters, according to a statement from the church.
In Weiser, the Christmas Crèche Committee held its first ever Christmas Crèche Exhibit at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the weekend of Dec. 7 and 8. A total of 148 sets were put on display at this free event, with live Christmas music performances, Christmas cookies and a showing of the film, ‘The Christ Child.”
Cara Southwick, a member of the Church from Cambridge, helped publicize the exhibit to surrounding communities. Danielle Reese headed up the project along with several community members. The decorations for the event were provided by Pleasant Gardens Event and Decor.
“This is the first time the Christmas Creche Exhibit has been held in our area,” said Southwick via email. “It is hoped that this will become an annual event and that the number of Nativities on display will grow year by year.”
Southwick said the first Crèche exhibit in the U.S. occurred in Ann Arbor, Mich. in 1983.
“Crèche, is a French word that refers to a tableau or model of the scene of Jesus’ birth that is displayed in homes or public places,” according to Southwick. “More specifically, it centers on the baby Jesus in the manger. Today, we lovingly refer to it as a Nativity.”
Southwick acknowledged she and Reese couldn’t have pulled off the endeavor alone.
“Although this was initially started by a member of our church, it was very much a community effort and that is what is hoped it will be in the future,” said Southwick.
Southwick says that for her the Nativity reminds her of the best gift she could ever receive.
“The Nativity scene is a visible reminder of the greatest gift that was given to all mankind, the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Southwick had two sets of her own on display.