The Garage at church is dark and very hip and cool. So, the Christmas decorations won’t stand out if you do the usual woodsy-greens.
Enter my Silent-Night-Holy-Night-O-Little-Town-of-Bethlehem-all-in-white theme. It came to me 2 years ago during church one Sunday morning – I saw silhouettes and sparkly huge cut-outs encasing the room. Scott gave me the go-ahead this year. He is so trusting.
Add in my friend, Pearl, who is not only very creative and artistic, but has always wanted to create “Bethlehem.” Three years ago, she created Narnia at the church we attended then and it was the most magical thing I have ever seen for church decor! She brought her love for “sculpting” with foam, her attention to detail, her heat gun, her very talented husband, Bryan, along with great ideas for back-lighting the town and we were off to the races. Pearl did a lot of the detail work and “smaller” projects at home, then we worked at the church together some for 3 days.
There is a heavenly host of angels suspended from the ceiling over the stage, which is draped with light curtains. Genius lighting tech, Alfonso Lopez added some amazing effects the other night to cause shadows to double our angelic group and it was beautiful! He also spot-lighted the Star of Bethlehem (which Pearl carved and fit together from 2 star shapes of 2″ thick foam) to a brilliance I did not know you actually could achieve from white and silver glitter and a few hundred sequins.
Up high, over the entry doors, are the “Wise guys,” heading directly, on their noble camels, toward the star, which will lead them straight to the babe.
The stage is garlanded in crystally, poofy fabric wrapped around hundreds of lights. Just below the garland are a small group of lambs straining to get a glimpse of the baby Jesus.
Bethlehem itself lines one wall leading to the stage, while the shepherds in the fields are overcome by the brightness of the host of angels on another.
But center stage? The Nativity is illuminated on the main center screen – for the whole thing leads directly to Jesus. His birth. His coming. Him.
As near as I can tell, the whole project took about 85 or 86 man hours (you can’t just cut the foam at your own speed, you know). We went through a few pounds of glitter, quite a few sheets of 4 x 8 foam, yards and yards of fabric, many strings of lights, and a lot of help from our husbands!
The best part was my time with Pearl and getting to see the whole thing finally finished on Thursday night (even though we still had ideas and materials-you have to stop sometime) and “coming to life” while the worship team practiced for Sunday.
On Sunday morning, just in time for the “unveiling,” we got a beautiful, wet, full winter snow outside. Just like inside, it was white. It seemed holy. The four lambs on the stage right in front of the Nativity testified that, through Jesus:
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” (Is. 1.18 NIV)
So this is what I have been up to…Jeanie
Big-time thanks to: Pearl and Bryan Younger, daughter Tara, daughter Steph and my little Guini-muggins, Laura Frye, Mike-the-maintenance-big-wig, Rocky, Alfonso, my longsuffering husband, Dave (he rolls with my flow), and daughter Stormie
PICTURED: top row ~ Stormie did the graphic so the big screen would be part of the whole design, a angel sampling; second & third rows ~ (thumbnails, click to enlarge) more angels, a Bethlehem wall, wise men on camels (nearly 6 feet tall!) up over the entry way, one sparkly donkey, hard to photograph a spinning star! It was 40-some inches “tall”; final four shots ~ a vista (I may have to finish the fabric and lighting we had planned, hmmm…), shepherds in the field wall, Rocky leading, some of the band amongst the sheep.