Blinking lights, inflatable snowmen and helicopter Santas on
front lawns are all well and good, but nothing says Christmas better than
displaying the humble, holy family. Nativity scenes big or small serve as
heartfelt reminders of what Christmas is all about. They can be great
conversation-starters for onlookers in passing cars.
Parents can use traditional Christmas light hunting trips to
teach young children the true story of Christmas. More than a few area houses
have exciting mixes of lights that also include the crèche, ranging from
playful and animated to elegant and solemn.
In Kings Park off Braddock Road in West Springfield, one house
has an inflatable Nativity while another has the popular plastic lighted set
complete with the Wise Men.
Carol Denny, a parishioner of Holy Spirit Church in Annandale,
displays a white wooden crèche made by the Knights of Columbus at Church of the
Nativity in Burke. It is one of the first things she puts up.
“They are a very compelling and simple statement about what this
season is really all about,” said Bob Colella, one of the Knights in charge of
making the wooden cut outs. According to Colella, building the Nativity scenes
is a good way for the men to center their minds on Advent as they work.
“It’s a constant reminder as you work of the reason for it being
a season of Advent and not just Christmas Day,” said Colella.
Their $50 Nativity scenes have grown in popularity over the
years. This year they filled 40 orders, which was nine more than last year.
Many of their customers add a special Christmas message to the scene at no
additional charge. They vary from to “Joy” to “Oh come let us adore him,” one
of the longest messages that can fit, according to Colella.
Denny had “Silent Night, Holy Night,” her favorite Christmas
carol, added to her display.
“You can hear and feel the mother’s love for her child through
the whole song,” said Denny, who pairs her Nativity scene with a lighted star,
an angel and three presents representing the Wise Men’s gifts.
“People have gotten away from the meaning of Christmas,” said
Denny. “We really need this.” She is happy to see that so many of her neighbors
have added the holy family to their displays, and she hopes it will encourage
others to remember Jesus this holiday season.
There are many places to find the reason for the season both
inside and outside the Beltway, starting with the crèche outside your local
church. Load up the car, pack some
snacks and set out to find the light of the world in a neighborhood near you.