An event to celebrate what to many represents the true meaning of Christmas is returning to Sooke, and organizers are confident it will be an inspiring and entertaining display.
The exhibition, hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, includes more than 400 nativity scenes collected from all around the world.
“We have nativity displays from Turkey, Mexico, Mongolia, Hawaii and just about anywhere you can think of,” organizer Linda Payne said.
“I have one made out of olive wood that I bought in Bethlehem. It really holds special meaning and helps me to remember what the season is all about.”
It’s not just the exotic origins of the displays that help to entertain those who come to the exhibition.
“The variety of the displays is amazing. We have one that is very large, where Joseph is about four feet tall, and we have a few that are so tiny that they fit in ring boxes,” Payne said.
The displays are largely brought in by members of the church, but there have been offers of nativity sets from people outside the church, and those contributions are always welcomed.
In addition to the traditional nativity scenes, Payne said that there are scenes made from Lego kits, scenes in which the participants are Eskimos, and even one where it appears that the region’s bear population had their own nativity experience.
“These displays are amazing and it doesn’t matter if what your faith might be, it’s worth coming to see the imagination and artistry that have gone into the various versions of the nativity,” Payne said.
In addition to the nativity displays, the event features a video, and a collection of art work that includes paintings, tapestries, and embroidery – all in-keeping with the Christian Christmas theme.
There are also activities for the children, touchable nativity scenes that the kids can play with and, of course, some snacks.
“This is a wonderful way to add to the Christmas spirit of the community at large. It’s a wonderful time of year, and we want the entire community to feel welcome to come in and enjoy the display,” Payne said.
It’s the second year for the International Nativity Display, and Payne is confident it’s only going to get bigger.
The display takes place on Dec. 13 and Dec. 14 at 6868 West Coast Rd.
Admission is free and refreshments are provided at no cost.
A food bank donation box will be available.