Local nativity scenes will celebrate Christmas

Hannah Grover
Scott Willard and his daughter, Camille Willard, look at a nativity scene Wednesday at the Bloomfield Stake Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

FARMINGTON — Local churches and faith-based groups have arranged several opportunities for the community to enjoy nativity scenes in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Displays range from the elaborate Walk Through Bethlehem production put on by Crossroads Community Church to a showcase of nativity sets organized by the Bloomfield Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

For the latter event, hundreds of nativity sets owned by LDS members will be displayed in the stake center on West Blanco Boulevard in Bloomfield. The display, which will include sets ranging from whimsical to traditional, began Wednesday and will continue through Friday. It is open from 4 to 9 p.m.

Live nativities are also a popular way to celebrate Christmas. Navajo Ministries will present the longest-running live nativity in the area from 6 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 23.

The Live Navajo Nativity has been the organization's "gift to the community" for 31 years, said Eric Fisher, president of Navajo Ministries. The nativity features children from the Four Corners Home for Children, a branch of Navajo Ministries that houses neglected or abused children.

The campus at 2103 W. Main St. will be lit by luminarias, donated by San Juan College after its luminaria display is over. Angels will greet visitors at the entrance to the 16-acre property, and people can then drive through the campus to see the nativity display, which will feature llamas, miniature horses and other ranch animals, as well as children from the home.

Part of a nativity set crafted by artist Lucy Leuppe McKelvey is pictured on Wednesday at the Bloomfield Stake Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In the days leading up to Christmas Eve, Crossroads Community Church will host a similar event. The Nazarene church has hosted the Walk Through Bethlehem for 14 years.

This year's event will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 20 to Dec. 23 at Crossroads Community Church, 2400 N. Butler Ave.

The event started out small but has since grown significantly, said Dreama West, the church's office manager.

People who attend the event will be sorted into groups of about 20 and assigned a tour guide who will lead them through Bethlehem until they reach the manger.

"You're going to encounter the Roman guards, which everyone loves," West said. "They're going to take the census."

The census will be filled out on a brown piece of paper, and participants will receive copies of the "Bethlehem Times," which includes stories about Jesus.

The tour guide will lead the group through a marketplace with vendors selling items like food, oil and spices. Participants will also try to find room at an inn as inn keepers shoo them away.

The group will then proceed to the shepherds' fields, where angels will direct them to the manger.

"Everyone ends up at the manger scene," West said.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

A glass nativity set is pictured Wednesday at the Bloomfield Stake Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.