- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 23, 2015

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - Wendy Meadows walked around Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church on a recent Sunday cradling her smallest creche in a shroud of fabric.

The egg-shaped block of salt was painstakingly carved away to reveal figures of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. It was a gift from her son Taylor, 21, who is serving a mission in Bolivia for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Out of the nearly 50 nativity scenes on view at the church in the 13th annual display coordinated by the interdenominational group Our Common Ground, Meadows owns 15. Her personal collection might contain about 50, she said, many of them souvenirs from her travels.

“I love to bring a part of that world to our home,” Meadows said.

Growing up, Meadows said, she loved to gaze at her family’s nativity scene each December, assembled above the fireplace.



“I remember as a child just being mesmerized,” Meadows said. “I felt like it took me back in time to when the savior was born.”

The community collection, Meadows said, is “a way to bring people together to reflect on what is miraculous and blessed in this world.”

Creches in the display were made from all sorts of materials, including wood, plastic, papier-mache, ceramic, corn husks and cow’s hooves. Some had interesting animals looking upon the scene, such as llamas in a Chilean terra-cotta version and a moose in one that a woman discovered in a thrift store.

Nearly all of them featured the central three figures in the Christmas story and some version of a barn and a manger. One displayed simply the sparkly golden Wise Men riding camels on their way to Christ’s birth.

Held in tandem with the Jackson Hole Chorale’s moving “Gloria” concert, which filled the church’s sanctuary with nearly 300 people, the creche display also drew a contingent of small children who couldn’t sit still for the whole musical program.

Parent Andy Weenig was grateful when organizer Cyndie Griggs brought out a Fisher-Price nativity scene to occupy his daughter Luna, 2, so he could engage her in the Christmas story without worrying about her breaking anyone’s heirloom.

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Information from: Jackson Hole (Wyo.) News And Guide, https://www.jhnewsandguide.com

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