Scenes depict Christ’s birth

Busy hands work diligently to place Mary and Joseph in exactly the right place. Next follow the wise men and their gifts, the sheep and camels and of course, baby Jesus.

“The last night we put in the final touches, and it’s so calm and beautiful,” said Michele Bowen, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “I think it’s because of what we are setting up — through the nativities we are celebrating the birth of our Savior.”

The Bessemer Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will open its annual nativity exhibit of more than 500 scenes to the public again this year. The event will be held at the Oak Mountain/Hoover Chapel in Indian Springs Village Dec. 5-7.

Members of the church, and more recently, community members fill the worship hall with unique depictions of Jesus’ birth. Scenes made from corn husks and carved out of wood dot the hall amidst images of the wise men and Jesus carved out of wood and ebony.

“To me the thing that has been so interesting is seeing the different depictions,” Bowen said. “No matter where they come from, they have a reverence. It’s something very unifying no matter where you live or come from.”

Many of the scenes come from as far away as China, Germany, Nepal and Africa. Bowen said many mothers receive them from children serving as missionaries in foreign lands.

Bowen’s favorite is a nativity created from felted wool. But she said no matter your preference for material or style, the event just seems to start the season off right.

Families can enjoy the event with the sounds of a beautiful string quartet playing Christmas tunes in the backround and, if stopping by on Sunday, enjoy the culmination of the celebration featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at 7 p.m.