In the month of December, several churches present a live nativity with bales of straw, lambs and other animals and people in costumes as Mary and Joseph. Nativity scenes date back to 13th century in Italy when St Francis of Assisi was concerned that the real meaning of Christmas was being lost in the process of gift giving.
Walk through Nativity, as presented by a local Sarnia Church, also hoped to focus on the reason for Christmas. Two hundred and fourteen or more nativity scenes were presented for people to walk thorough and see in the church lobby, library, sanctuary and other rooms and marvel at the variety. The simplest nativity sets includes a stable, manger, Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. Other more elaborate sets add a star, angels and animals and the shepherds and three wise men. This special event has been operating for three years and had approximately 400 visitors in 2014.
The sets came from different countries all over the world: some were indigenous, some from African countries like Uganda or Kenya; others from Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Italy, the Philippines and indigenous Canadians. Some were quite colourful as the set from Haiti; others were quite elaborate. The set from the Philippines was made from the wood of the coconut; others were of metal, ceramics, wood cloth. One was is the form of a tapestry. What a wonderful experience to walk and see how people in different countries view the nativity.