When I arrived at the Nativity Festival this year, since I’m a worker and it was habit, I entered the back entrance. The building was transformed right from the start. It was no longer the same old meetinghouse I attend every Sunday. The long hallway was lined with small spotlights highlighting the pictorial, with narrative, story of the writing of the well known hymn “Silent Night, Holy Night”, this year’s festival theme. I read the story, which I had not read before, as I wandered slowly down the hall. There I promptly wondered if I should have entered through the front door for a change. For I was instantly transported to an old cabin in the woods.
The front door was given a false wood front and draped with fir boughs. The foyer was filled with old family treasures that created the feel of a pioneer cabin. An old family bible, a roaring fire (courtesy of a mini space heater that simulates an old fireplace), quilts, toys, benches, you name it and it was probably there. I learned later in my wandering that the other front foyer was decorated similarly, but not the same. Perhaps another part of the cabin?
Next stop was the main cultural hall. This absolutely no longer looked anything like a basketball court! I had stepped out of the toasty cabin and into the forest! Snow covered trees, old wooden fences, wood piles for the fireplace, mini white lights as stars, it looked like what I would have seen if I had just stepped out of my cabin and onto my front porch. It was a beautiful cozy winter wonderland. And it was filled with hundreds of gorgeous Nativity displays. I heard people comment on the set-up. They were impressed, amazed, awed. “This year is better than last year.” “EVERY year is simply gorgeous.” “They have really outdone themselves. Again.” “How are they going to top this next year? Didn’t we say that last year?”
The first thing I noticed was the beautiful background music. It was subtle and added to the atmosphere. While I was there I heard three young ladies serenade us with the harmonies of a piano, violin, and cello. They alternated between the songs and the players. Very talented young women and not even graduated from high school yet. They are going places!
Scattered through the forest were rows upon rows of Nativity displays. They were set-up in a meandering route as if one was just wandering through a quiet peaceful forest and contemplating Christ. It was miraculous. I saw hundreds of displays. I can’t even consciously recall seeing duplicates, though I’m sure there must have been at least one or two. The displays were from around the world and ranged through a variety of styles. There were wood, paper, glass, porcelain, china, you name it the medium was likely there. I saw this one made up of rolled newspapers. Who would have thought that old outdated newspapers could be reimagined into something heirloom worthy? The displays also ranged in style as well as medium. I saw the traditional displays, but I also saw the cutest display consisting of just frogs. Another of just dogs. Others represented the culture of the country of origin. They were limitless, unique.
And yet, even with the differences they all told the same story. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6 KJV)
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I felt the Spirit there this season and it testified of Christ. I am grateful for the opportunity to have attended the festival this year. I look forward with great anticipation to next year’s and the beauty and wonders and spirit it brings to this holiday season. The reason for this season is Jesus Christ.
Have a Merry Christmas!