Manger scenes reverent to quaint PDF Print E-mail
Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Religion Editor   
Friday, 07 December 2012 10:19
Bowling Green resident Darlene Mauk glances over a selection of nativity scenes at Alliance Church. (Photos: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
For Christians, the annual "Come to the Stable" is a must-see event.
No matter your taste, there are certainly a dozen or more Nativity sets that you will call a favorite at the display hosted at Bowling Green Alliance Church. Your favorites will be numerous as there are approximately 750 displays, with each one being unique in some way.
The Nativity is a depiction, also called a creche, of the people gathered at the manger for the birth of the Christ-child.
The scenes range in size from small sets no more than a 1/4-inch tall with the whole set placed inside a match box, to a waist-high fireplace screen. It is very easy to get lost in time as one ponders the diversity depicted with the various mediums, the styles, the details and the scope, all of the same basic theme of Christ's birth.
"The whole atmosphere is wonderful," said Sally Henline, a Pemberville resident who has visited the display each of the last three years.
"There are so many that are so beautiful, so different, so special," she added.
Henline, one of the first visitors this year on Thursday, noted having the display in the sanctuary of the church makes it special for her.
The whimsical and light-hearted portrayals stand in stark contrast to the ornate and reverent presentations.
The stand-alone one piece image can be just as powerful as the display with more than two dozen figures.
Many of the scenes were created from precious metals, while others are made of common materials. Various types of wood treatments illustrate similar images as the various glass manger scenes.
The glass devotional scenes included clear, frosted, etched and stained glass, to name a few. There were Legos and ceramics, pewter and paper. There was even a set made of magazine pages.
The Nativity sets were depicted in large quilts and afghans as well as coffee mugs and ornaments hanging from a small Christmas tree.
Many of the sets were gifts to the numerous people who loan their sets to the church for the display, while others were made by the donors or their family and friends.
A moose navity scene is seen at Alliance Church.
Gary Kidd of Bowling Green was visiting the display for the first time on Thursday.
"I really like the lights and the various settings," Kidd said also noting the wide variety.
"We have a lot of people who come year after year and make this a part of their Christmas plans," said Jane Shively, chairman for the event. This is all the things the other Christmas events are not."
There are plush sets resembling stuffed animals, and one featuring Snoopy and the Peanuts gang, as well as a set of Native Americans. Bears and moose take the role of the sacred figures, in addition to one depiction featuring snowmen including a baby snowman Jesus.
Many of the scenes originated in foreign lands including the Philippines, the Czech Republic, Armenia, China, Georgia and Peru to name a few. African scenes present a far different look than the German or Mexican sets.
Embroidery and mirrors were used in scenes which range from the simple to the sophisticated.
With all too many people focused on shopping and busy details of holiday activities, "Come to the Stable" offers people the chance to focus on a deeper meaning of the holiday.
"This is really a time out from all the hustle and bustle of Christmas," Shively summarized.
This is the 12th year for the presentation with more than 700 visitors attending last year. The chair said last year she counted 750 different settings. This year's display had not been counted as of Thursday evening, but she expected there to be at least that many again this year.
Live music is provided during most of the display hours which continue until 9 p.m. tonight, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for the 10 a.m. worship service at the church, 1161 Napoleon Road.
Non-perishable food and cash donations are being accepted for the Bowling Green Christian Food Pantry.
Refreshments are served. There is also a drawing for a door prize of a Nativity set.
Last Updated on Friday, 07 December 2012 12:41

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