A life-size Nativity sprang up over the weekend at Montezuma Valley Presbyterian Church, and though it may seem it happened overnight, the handmade Nativity represents a year’s worth of work.
“We have been working on this as a church for over a year,” said Steve Nofel, pastor at the Montezuma Valley Presbyterian Church.
The idea for the life-size Nativity was born when a church member saw a similar one in Arizona. Each figure was made out of plywood and hand-painted.
The church invites the community to visit the life-size Nativity, which will be lit up every night through Christmas. It will be open for walkthroughs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m.
Those who tour the Nativity can tune in to hear the Christmas story on the radio, and children will get the book “Anawim, The Christmas Lamb,” which was written and illustrated by church members about a lamb given to Jesus. Adults will get prayer books. Cookies and hot chocolate also will be available.
“We set this up as a gift for the whole community,” Nofel said.
The yearlong project has been a challenging one for the church members, but they rose to it.
“It really has revitalized the whole church,” Nofel said. “It’s been a very cool year for us, a very growing year.”
There are 30 hand-painted figures in all.
“Hundreds of hours went into this Nativity,” Nofel said. “There has been a group constantly working on it all year.”
And those who weren’t working on it were asked to pray.
“Our prayer warriors prayed for those working on the Nativity and prayed for the community to come see it,” Nofel said.
When the Nativity finally went up on Sunday, it was an emotional time, Nofel said.
“It looks so beautiful at night. It was just so emotional, some members were brought to tears,” Nofel said.
Some of the Nativity will be featured in the Parade of Lights Saturday night, Nofel said.
People are invited to drive by the Nativity at any time, at 350 S. Washington St. It is set up in the backyard of the church house.
But to fully experience the Nativity and its craftsmanship, you must walk through the scene.
“In order to deepen the experience, we are inviting everyone to walk thought the Nativity any Friday, Saturday and Sunday night,” Nofel said.
Everyone walking through the display will be able to listen to the Christmas story.