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FARMINGTON — Danielle Anderson tried on a red traditional Navajo dress today as she prepared for her role as Mary in the upcoming live Navajo Nativity.

The 16-year-old girl said she has been participating in the Nativity for about a decade, but this will be her first year in the role of Mary.

The event will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Navajo Ministries campus, 2103 W. Main St. in Farmington. 

While in the past the event has been on Christmas Eve, it was moved up this year so it did not conflict with other Christmas Eve events, including Cross Roads Community Church's Walk Through Bethlehem and Christmas Eve services.

Anderson said the Nativity is a fun event for the children who live at Four Corners Home for Children to participate in. She said it is unique because it tells the story of the birth of Jesus Christ while showcasing Navajo culture, including clothing and jewelry.

Four Corners Home for Children is a branch of Navajo Ministries and provides shelter for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Many of the children are Navajo and are placed at the home by social services organizations such as the Children, Youth and Families Department or the Navajo Division of Social Services.

Kathy Hargrove, the director of children's services, said the event is popular for children who live there.

"If they're old enough to do it, they usually want to," she said.

Navajo Ministries President Raymond Dunton said the nativity has been an annual event for about three decades.

"It's kind of a tradition here," he said. 

Visitors drive a loop through the campus and several church choirs sing carols in the Navajo language.

Dunton said the event is a way for the children to give back to the community. He said many local businesses and churches support Navajo Ministries.

The event is also a chance to tell the story of the birth of Jesus Christ.

"The whole birth of Christ is important to us," Dunton said. "It's kind of the cornerstone of what we do."

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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