Archive for December 19th, 2021


Written by Michael Dyer.

I grew up in an era when Christian displays could occur on city public property. An important family Christmas tradition in my hometown Nashville, TN, was to see the Nativity Scene exhibit in Centennial Park. This Nativity Scene, which first appeared in 1953, was an elaborate exhibit commissioned by the Harvey’s Department Store. It drew thousands of visitors from Tennessee and Kentucky during the Christmas season. Christmas carols played and an elaborate light show continuously illuminated the characters throughout the evening. I particularly recall my connection between the exhibit and the hymn “The First Noel.” Both addressed Jesus’ wondrous appeal to shepherds, members of the least admired occupations in Biblical times, and the Magi, members of Persia’s” intelligentsia.” Jesus coming was first proclaimed to “the least” yet was also acknowledged by those of great privilege. The Magi endured a long arduous journey to witness his birth and bring gift offerings. The exhibit, hymn, and the myriad of people who witnessed the exhibit reinforced my belief that God, through Jesus Christ, is available to all of us, regardless of our heritage, occupation, or circumstances. Sometimes Jesus appears spontaneously and dramatically (shepherds heralded by the heavenly hosts or “born again moments), other times it occurs after a lengthy personal journey (Magi). Regardless, we simply need to be open to his presence in our lives and he can enter. Time, weather-related decay, and social/political mores eliminated the Nativity exhibit in 1967. Jesus though is always with us, as is the memory of the Nashville Nativity for those of us blessed to experience it.

SCRIPTURE: 1 John 4:8-10

VIDEO: Nativity Scene: Memories of Nashville

 If using an advent wreath, light the two purple candles, the rose-colored candle and the third purple candle. The fourth candle represents peace and is called the “Angel’s Candle.” The angels announced that Jesus came to bring peace–He came to bring people  close to God and to each other again.

Read Full Post »