My Favorite Nativity Exhibit/Christmas Music Festival

Imagine a cultural hall well-decorated with fragrant trees, live poinsettias, and hundreds of nativities.  Live Christmas music is presented hourly by local orchestras, school groups, and individual musicians.  Nativities are diverse: some appeal to adults, others to children, and many come from countries around the world.  In the adjoining chapel, a five-minute video portrays the first Christmas.  In a nearby classroom, nativities that might have a particular appeal to children are displayed.  In another classroom, a "dress up" room lets children and families wear nativity costumes and pose for a picture.  This Nativity Exhibit/Christmas Music Festival has become our church's annual gift to our community. 
Kaia dressed up like an angel in the photo room.
 Our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) has congregations throughout the world.  This is the 13th year that our stake (made up of six local congregations) has prepared this exhibit for our community.  We love it!  I was lucky enough this year to be able to help prepare and participate in the organization of this amazing event.  Literally hundreds of people donate thousands of hours to help make this happen.  The nativities, poinsettias, and costumes are all donated for the 4-day event.  The whole point is to prepare a Nativity Exhibit and Christmas Music Festival where visitors can feel the Spirit and remember the true meaning of Christmas.  I love it because it helps set the tone for the whole Christmas season.  I find myself thinking about it often--not just while it was up (during the first weekend of the month).
 This is the first year that Kaia has really understood how Christmas celebrates Jesus' birthday.  She was so excited to dress like an angel and "sing and tell everyone that Jesus is born!"
 I know it is easy to get excited about presents...especially when you have kids.  Kaia is SO MUCH FUN to shop for!  But, this Nativity Exhibit made me think, "Yes--this is the whole point of Christmas.  This baby is the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is the one who has made salvation possible.  I so want my kids to feel the love their Savior has for them.  I want them to grow  up and know Him.  I want them to be motivated by His example."
 It is so natural for kids to be Christ-like, but it seems so easy to forget as we age.   I think that's one of the reasons we celebrate Christmas--to help us remember. 
I still believe Christmas is magical.  Sure, part of that is the presents and Santa.  A bigger part of that, I think, is that in celebrating Jesus' birthday we are inviting His spirit into our lives.  And nothing feels more magical than that.

I love this time of year!


Kristina Ruth December 20, 2010 at 5:16 PM  

your daughter is so cute.

Genny December 20, 2010 at 6:21 PM  

We have a church in our area that has hundreds of nativity scenes and I meant to go and check it out with the kids, but I ran out of time! My mother-in-law went and said it was absolutely beautiful and amazing. I'll have to go next year!

Skye December 21, 2010 at 9:12 AM  

Well said. We all forget what christmas really is about sometimes, it's the truth. I will be the first one to admit it! We do not currently go to church (but plan on going in the near future), and I hope to teach Julianna about the true meaning of christmas as well. That is very important and does fget pushed to the wayside with all the excitement over Santa & gifts and shopping! :)

Jansen Family December 26, 2010 at 4:34 PM  

Thanks Kristina!

Genny, I hope you get a chance to go next year-they are beautiful!

Skye, We tried to put a lot of focus on the true meaning of Christmas this year, but we sure did enjoy the presents with Kaia! I loved watching her eyes light up when she came downstairs on Christmas! Actually, I really appreciate having church to help raise our kids...I feel like it's given us a lot of tools to be better parents.