“As you look upon your Nativity set, may you remember and celebrate God’s love for His creation. To show His abundant love, mercy and forgiveness, He became a person like us. This is what the creche symbolizes.”
So states “The Life of St. Francis” by Thomas of Celano.
This year, for the second time, the Ocean View Presbyterian Church will be hosting a Nativity Festival on Saturday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., celebrating that spirit of love with a display of crèches from all over. The festival is free and open to the public and offers visitors a chance to start the season in a serene way.
The festival — which features “crèches,” or nativity displays, from more than 13 countries, including Germany, Mexico, Bolivia and the Galapagos Islands, to name a few — will feature a card alongside each of the displays, explaining its origin and describing the scene at hand. Elsie Young, the chairperson for the event, said the fact that they are all so different is what makes the day fun and unique.
“We have one we brought back from Mexico,” said Young, noting that, instead of camels, the three wise men in that crèche are riding on a horse, a camel and an elephant. She also explained that the scenes differ in size and age.
“Ours is 50 years old, and we have one that is 75 years old. The smallest one we have is in an eggshell, and the largest one is more than 2 feet.”
She relayed that one of crèches being shared was made by a man who used to pay children in his neighborhood to collect old Christmas trees after Christmas, and he would carve a log cabin out of the wood for the stable.
“He’d spend all year making crèches out of those trees,” she said. “It’s those types of stories that people will get to read on each of the cards that accompany the crèche.”
She explained that some have the whole stable scene, while some have just Mary and Joseph and Jesus, and one set even has a family of cardinals — yes, the birds — depicting the scene. Depending upon the culture of the country they come from, they are all different in how they look, the materials and fabrics used and what is shown.
“The crèche takes on the environment of the culture and the environment of the area,” explained Young. “They are really unique.”
Chairs will be set up in Memorial Hall, as well, for people who want to sit and listen to the Christmas carols that will be sung throughout the day, or they can join in. Refreshments will also be available, and the Nativity Festival is open to everyone.
Ocean View Presbyterian is located at 67 Central Avenue in Ocean View.