The Apex Christmas Nativity Celebration is a holiday tradition for many Wake County families.
“It’s like an exclamation point on all the good during this season of giving,” said Steve Bodhaine, Director of Public Affairs for the holiday effort hosted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
With more than 600 Nativity scenes representing 54 countries, the displays are graciously loaned from area families, including Holly Springs Mayor Dick Sears, and others from across the nation.
The smallest set could almost fit inside an egg. The largest is staged outside the chapel, with volunteer actors and barn animals that bring the Nativity scene to life.
Younger children will enjoy the room that includes touchable manger pieces, a dress-up area for them to create their story of Jesus’ birth. They can also visit the Old Bethlehem market area.
Jennifer Despain is the chair of this year’s celebration. “This is a big job that requires at least 550 volunteers the week of the event,” said Despain.
The planning begins in the early spring and she couldn't pull this off without her core of 20 committee members. The group is anticipating more than 4,000 visitors.
Now in its eighth year, the event is similar to other celebrations across the nation. Bodhaine got the idea from a Michigan LDS Church and believes it is a way to help clear up any misunderstandings about the Mormon faith.
“Come and see who we are,” he said. Our love for mankind, faith in Christ and desire to reach out to the community.”
Apex Councilman Bryan Gossage is an admirer of the annual event. “There's so much creativity and dedication to admire in each individual Nativity,” said Gossage. Viewing them is like taking a sip from a hundred different rivers, each unique Nativity Scene gives a taste of what the Season is all about – while providing a sure reminder of the Source that renews.”
For more on the Apex Nativity Celebration, visit www.christmasnativity.org/apex. If you have ideas for future Faith Filter columns, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faith Filter column published December 7, 2011 in The Cary News
Picture credit: Forrest Anderson
Liza is the Faith Filter columnist for the Cary News. Her stories of faith and lives changed by trusting in God are published about four times a year.