Local congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the United States and overseas hosted thousands of nativity displays during the Christmas season depicting biblical accounts of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. From hand-crafted nativities to live presentations, the nativities from around the world bear testimony of the divinity of the Savior's birth. Traditional Christmas nativity scenes include Jesus in a manger with figurines of His mother, Mary; Joseph; angels; shepherds and farm animals.
Many of the displays and live nativities by congregations of the Church are annual events held in December for local communities that bring together those of different faiths in celebration of Jesus’ birth. This year’s nativity displays attracted hundreds of visitors from states such as Alaska, North Carolina, and Oregon and from countries ranging from Finland to Guatemala to New Zealand.
A group of local Latter-day Saint congregations in Cincinnati, Ohio, organized a free event featuring more than 425 miniature nativity displays in the Liberty Township.
Live nativities were also part of celebrations with congregations in Gila Valley, Arizona.
The Corvallis Nativity Festival in Oregon has been running for 19 years with over 800 nativities on display that attract more than 4,000 people annually. The interfaith event, organized by Latter-day Saint congregations, includes free concerts featuring local high school and middle school choirs, community choirs, and area church choirs. “We continue to work on getting other church communities involved and have people come from as far away as Portland to see the festival,” said festival director Peggy Glasmann. In nearby Eugene, the Tri-Stake Crèche Exhibit is held every year.
In Canada, nativity pageants have become an important Christmas tradition for thousands of families who join in re-enacting the events surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ. Volunteer casts offer free performances of the nativity scene.
Three Bartlesville congregations in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area host a unique nativity and choral event for the community. The central meetinghouse for the local congregations in Bartlesville is transformed into a beautiful display of more than 300 individual nativity scenes, and a portion of the church is decorated as an ancient Jewish village.
Local congregations in Elko, Nevada, sponsor the Elko Regional Interfaith Christmas Crèche Exhibit. This year's exhibit displayed more than 700 nativities contributed by individuals, families, organizations and churches from throughout northeastern Nevada.
The Historic Kirtland, Ohio Crèche exhibit for 2013 included more than 630 nativities from around the world.
More than 200 people attended the live nativity organized by the Albany congregation in the Auckland New Zealand Harbour Stake (similar to a diocese), including friends of other faiths. Many children from the Church's Primary program were involved. The bishop and his counselors, the congregation’s leadership, portrayed the Three Wise Men.
Three congregations within the St. David Arizona Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently hosted a community “Back to Christ” Christmas celebration that attracted about 500 people. The San Pedro, St. David and Patton congregations invited those from other faiths as well as the entire San Pedro community to the production. The event was held in the Saint David meetinghouse, where rooms were transformed to resemble the New Testament era, and actors depicted portions of the Christmas story in word and music.
In Washington State, 6,000 patrons viewed nearly 500 nativities at the tri-stake Bellevue Festival of The Nativity. More than 20 musical performances were also part of the festival. More than 500 nativities and a live nativity highlighted the Arlington Festival of the Nativities.
About 1,200 nativities were displayed throughout a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse in Wasilla, Alaska. The community nativity display has been part of the event for the past 13 years.