Bringing the Christmas Story to Life:
NPH Honduras celebrates Christ’s birth with a new and improved nativity scene.
January 6, 2009 - Honduras
In the early evening on Christmas day, as the sun disappeared behind the hazy green mountains cradling our Ranch property, our family gathered together in front of our babies’ home and began the traditional special procession to the church to celebrate our Christmas mass. A light rain began to fall as over 500 pequeños, volunteers, and visitors decked out in new Christmas outfits and singing familiar Christmas songs, made their way to the church down wooded pathways simply and beautifully lit by paper lanterns our girls had made earlier that day. Upon entering our beautiful, amphitheatre-styled church building, the first thing to grab everyone’s attention was the carefully crafted nativity scene set up near the entry way. The flow of children and young people slowed and swelled as they stopped to admire the scene, our youngest reaching out curious hands, their faces lit with admiration and the gleam from the twinkling white lights caringly strung over the structure.
Nativity scenes play a prominent role in the celebration of Christmas here at the Ranch. The caregivers and children work together to make new structures each year, one large one for each area (boys’ home, girls’ home, and babies’ home) and numerous little ones for each house. Walking through our homes at this time, one is sure to come upon a scene, large or small, representing the work and creativity of many little hands and hosting the typical cast of characters along with some rather untraditional additions—plastic tigers, sea creatures, action figures, airplanes, etc.
Children pass the nativity scene on their way to Christmas mass.
Of all these renderings, however, perhaps the most anticipated is the scene set up in our church. For the past five years, Father Reinhold Galindo, our priest, has entrusted the planning and construction of this special nativity scene to Dennis, a pequeño now studying at the high school level.
“It feels good to be able to contribute to the Ranch in this way,” shares Dennis, “The nativity scene makes the Christmas story realer, more tangible for the children—when done well, it can bring it to life.”
Each year, the design of the nativity scene evolves. Like past years, this year’s structure was made almost entirely of natural materials—palm leaves, bamboo, hay, sawdust. An innovation this year was the use of a stair-like structure on which the figures were placed to improve their visibility with different levels. Also new this year, the top of the manger has a sky light with translucent colored paper so the lighting above shines down on the figures in the center.
Dennis humbly admitted this year’s nativity scene was his favorite yet, and whisperings and comments from his fellow little brothers and sisters confirmed this opinion.
The nativity scene, presented for the first time on Christmas day, will remain in its place of honor for all to enjoy through January 6th, a date representing the arrival of the three kings.