Effingham Daily News
While the Cross at the Crossroads serves as a permanent reminder of the Christian faith that many local families display year-round, volunteers and friends of the Cross have again put together a special holiday display this Christmas season.
The chapel at the Cross is hosting a number of unique nativity displays once again this year. Cross board member Christy Hakman said the display spotlights the true meaning of the season.
"Ultimately, the nativity is the reason for the season," Hakman said.
Hakman said board members and volunteers strove for diversity within the overall display. And, that's what they have.
"This year, we have more than 50 scenes literally from around the world," she said. "There are people from our area who have been able to travel around the world and they have brought back some really nice nativity scenes.
"It's such a diverse, unique display," Hakman said. "It enables people to see how different cultures interpret the nativity.
"It's really neat to see the interpretations they all have."
This year's nativity collection includes examples from Haiti, Poland, Qatar, Guatemala, Peru, Bolivia, Italy and Kenya. Oh yeah, there's also a scene crafted in Jesus' birthplace of Bethlehem.
Ernest and Patricia Garbe of Dieterich have contributed several nativity sets to the chapel's display. Mrs. Garbe said she has accumulated a number of sets over the years. She added, however, that the couple has bought some sets specifically for the cross display.
"This reminds us that Jesus died for our sins and that His birthday is important," she said.
Hakman said the scenes reinforce the notion that Christmas is about more than Santa Claus and gaily-wrapped gifts.
"It just solidifies the true meaning of Christmas," she said. "It allows everyone to focus on Jesus.
"It's sort of an in-your-face declaration that THIS is why we celebrate Christmas."
The Cross visitor center, which includes the chapel, is open every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Christmas and New Year's Day.
Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.