A display of 38 nativity scenes at Trinity Lutheran Church, Lehighton brought new and old traditions together for the weekend.
The Rev. Robert vonFrisch, thought it would be a wonderful idea to have members of the congregation to share their manger scenes for a weekend at the church. All he asked is that people bring manger scenes that have some special meaning to their family.
The display, coordinated by Bruce Costenbader, was the perfect way for church members to share the special blessing of Christ's birth with everyone.
The nativity scenes or known by some as a "creche" is the depiction of the birth of Jesus as described in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. The dioramas on display were a mixture of whimsical, hand carved or hand painted and some could only be described as "works of art." Some had little monetary value, while others such as the one with Special Moments figurines brought in by a couple who has been collecting them since 2005, their first Christmas together, which they add to each year was worth several thousand dollars.
One manger scene was new, given by Trent Sutphin's grandparents to him on his first birthday earlier this year, while one of the oldest manger scenes at the display was offered by George and Nancy Markley, who purchased it their first Christmas together 52 years ago from a catalog. They believe it was made in Italy.
One display has special memories for Kathy Henderson, as it was painted by her father while he was serving in Louisiana during the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960s.
"It's special to me because I missed having my father at home," she said. "He and another soldier took lessons in ceramics painting and he painted this while he was away. He brought it home and my parents display it every year."
Many of the displays were cherished, not because of monetary value, but because they were made by a friend or were gifts from a friend.
One nativity was on display because it was hand made in the Holy Land.
Edwin and Barbara Belon shared their display "in the Peruvian style" made in Montana by the Atlantic Company.
Linda Kreiger had several crèches on display. The figurines in her largest display were at least two feet tall. That display is a new one she purchased this year.
Kathy Long was also one of the displayers who brought multiple manger scenes.
One of Long's favorite manger scenes was the display with Santa Claus praying over the infant Jesus.
"The manger project was well received," said the Rev. vonFrisch. "I asked everyone to consider sharing their manger scene and Bruce Costenbader did a wonderful job setting it up. I know that this event will grow and be even better next year."