Nativity Festival serves as reminder

Date Published: 
Dec. 8, 2017

This weekend, for a seventh year, the Ocean View Presbyterian Church’s Women’s Circle will host its annual multicultural Nativity Festival.

The festival will be held in the church’s fellowship hall on Saturday, Dec. 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and will feature a display of 125 crèches.

“We have a particularly lovely collection. I just got a new one. One of my friends was in Rwanda and she brought me back… It folds into a book with three panels, and it’s made from banana leaves,” said Elsie Young, who helped start the festival.

Young brought the idea to the church after her sister attended a nativity festival out of state.

“She said, ‘Oh, El — you ought to do that.’ I thought about it and wondered how we could manage it, and decided it was something we’d like to try,” she said. “We did it as a gift to the community.”

With the event now in its seventh year, Young said the church’s congregation has it.

Not only will the crèches be on display, but so will their stories, so those who can attend will learn their history.

“Sometimes it’s a feeling of awe, because people are so taken by how many there are and the stories,” she said, noting her own oldest crèche that will be on display is 58 years old. “People don’t just come in and look — they come in and ask questions about them.”

Along with participation, attendance has increased as well, with the event being shared by word-of-mouth, flyers and in publications.

During the free event, light refreshments will be served and Christmas carols will be sung.

“It’s a lovely beginning to the Advent season,” said Young. “It’s a joyous feeling; it’s a sharing, a caring. It’s a fellowship. It’s a learning experience. Some people bring their children and walk around and talk about different ones. It’s a friendly kind of place. You can sit down, listen to the music or sing along… It’s kind a neighborhood feeling.”

Young said the festival is a way for people to slow down for a few minutes and take the time to look at why Christmas is celebrated.

“Christmas has become so commercial, and we’re so busy… This brings the focus to the real reason for Christmas. It’s spiritual and relatively quiet… it takes away from that busyness of the commercial season. When you hear the comments people make, you know it’s really appreciated, and people really like taking that time.”

Young said she hopes the community will turn out for the event and be emboldened with the holiday spirit.

“It energizes people with the spirit. We invite everyone to come and enjoy the beauty and the experience,” she said. “There’s so much trouble in the world today… We lose our joy, and this is one way to pick up our joy… a ray of happiness, hope and goodness.”

Ocean View Presbyterian Church is located at 67 Central Avenue in Ocean View. For additional information on the festival, call (302) 539-3455.