IF YOU GO

What: Live Navajo Nativity

When: 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 23

Where: Navajo Ministries, 2103 W. Main St., Farmington

Where: Free, but donations are welcome.

More info: The path of the drive-thru nativity will be lit by luminarias. For more information, contact Navajo Ministries at 505-325-0255.

Farmington — A little Navajo boy on Monday was busy putting on a green velveteen shirt over his Batman T-shirt while activity moved around the living room of one of the homes on the Navajo Ministries campus.

That same boy later tried on a brown cowboy hat and wrapped a blue Pendleton blanket around his small shoulders.

He is one of 24 children who on Monday tried on outfits in preparation for the Navajo nativity, presented Dec. 23 by Navajo Ministries and the children of the Four Corners Home for Children.

The children will portray Joseph, Mary, the wise men, an inn keeper, shepherds, angels, a drummer boy, a gift boy and a gift girl while wearing clothes reflecting their Navajo heritage.

The role of baby Jesus remains unfilled, but one will be selected before the event, said Eric Fisher, Navajo Ministries vice president.

"It's been a community tradition to do this," he said, adding that the annual presentation started 29 years ago.

According to Fisher, approximately 300 vehicles drove by the nativity last year. In addition to viewing the nativity, visitors drive by a gazebo where a choir sings Christmas carols before returning to the nativity and then exiting the 16-acre campus.

On Monday, as lights twinkled from a Christmas tree, three girls dug through a clear plastic bin filled with Navajo-styled skirts in different sizes and colors.

Across the room, a group of boys occupied themselves with an assortment of cowboy hats.

Galy Cervantes, 7, stood nearby, waiting to be fitted.

"I want that one," she said, pointing at first to a green velveteen shirt and matching skirt before settling on a dark purple velveteen shirt that was accented with silver buttons.

Cervantes, who will be a gift girl, smiled after putting on the dark purple shirt and skirt and then watched as a pink Navajo sash belt was tied around her waist.

House mother Verranna Begaye helps 9-year-old Kayden Begaye with his outfit while trying on clothing Monday at Navajo Ministries in Farmington. Children
House mother Verranna Begaye helps 9-year-old Kayden Begaye with his outfit while trying on clothing Monday at Navajo Ministries in Farmington. Children tried on the outfits to prepare for the Navajo nativity on Dec. 23. (Megan Farmer — The Daily Times)

"It's not that tight," she said.

Three girls will play the role of Mary in this year's production.

Tasheena, 13, is one of the girls playing the role of Mary. This is her sixth time participating in the nativity.

"It's fun because you get to see people pass by," she said.

The last names of some of the children participating in this year's nativity have been withheld because of their sensitive situations.

Last year, Connor was a shepherd, but this year he will be the innkeeper, much to his delight.

"You get to hang around the animals," the 9-year-old said.

Connor, who selected a dark blue velveteen shirt, white pants and turquoise Pendleton blanket, said he looks forward to taking care of the donkey and horse that will be part of the nativity.

He also picked a dark brown hat because the straw ones "itch."

Kay Baker, director of partnership ministry, said the nativity is a way to present "a living Christmas card" to the community.

"This is a way for our children to express their thanks to the community," she said.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636. nsmith@daily-times.com Follow her @nsmithdt on Twitter.


House mother Verranna Begaye laughs while helping 9-year-old Kayden Begaye, left, with his belt while trying on clothing on Monday at Navajo Ministries in
House mother Verranna Begaye laughs while helping 9-year-old Kayden Begaye, left, with his belt while trying on clothing on Monday at Navajo Ministries in Farmington. (Megan Farmer — The Daily Times)