Yes, December is full of parties and presents, but Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church in Columbia is the place to be this weekend to experience the true spirit of Christmas. The church is hosting its third annual "O Come Let Us Adore Him" event – a delightful exhibit of creative Nativity scenes.
Schedule of Events
Perfect for the whole family, the event is scheduled to begin on Dec. 4 and runs through Dec. 6 in the Parish Hall at St. Peter's, located at 311 W 7th St. in Columbia, Tenn. The church is also open for tours during this time. The hours are Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 3 p.m.
A Christmas concert will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 3 p.m., featuring "His Own," a family singing group from Springfield, Tenn. At 5 p.m. that Saturday afternoon, the church will feature a holiday service entitled "Lessons and Carols." Both events will take place in the historic sanctuary of the church, and there is no charge for any of the activities or the tour of Saint Peter’s.
Three years ago, this ambitious project originated through the vision and determination of four parishioners: Connie Hardin, Maggie Olson, and Peggy and Tom Harmon. The inspiration came from a previous exhibit in Tullahoma, Tenn., which Peggy Harmon’s cousin staged for several years. During this time, the Harmons loaned many items to the exhibit.
In the summer of 2012, the local group began to brainstorm how to create and accomplish a similar endeavor for St. Peters. Part of the challenge was procuring the different items that would comprise this exhibit. Letters were sent to the parishioners, as well as friends of the group, in hope of gathering enough items to stage a successful and beautiful presentation.
In addition to various pieces and creches collected by the three families over the years, the group was looking for anything that represented the birth of Christ, including Madonnas and angels. Any medium was accepted and welcomed. In the first year’s exhibit, the works ranged from pasteboard to porcelain, as well as a painting by a local artist, created especially for the exhibit.
"One of the most unique items is a beautiful panel, embroidered in petit pointe, that depicts the manger scene," said Tom Harmon. "Another favorite is a nativity set that our retired priest received at age 14 from his parents as a Christmas gift, and remains one of the focal points of the exhibition," Harmon added.
Exquisite Russian hand-carved and hand-painted wooden eggs depicting the birth of Christ are also a popular feature. There are beautiful hand-carved crèches from Jerusalem, as well as a bisque porcelain set by Boehm.
After the first year, a local wood carver was so inspired by what he saw that he had carved a complete nativity set in time for the second year’s exhibit. Another local wood carver also loaned this Holy Family for the exhibit. Today, more than 500 items comprise the exhibit.
Exhibits for Adults and Children, Alike
Not all the items are fancy or fine – many wonderful items are made of stone, wire and felt.
A nativity is on display this year that is made from brushes. Wise men made from syrup bottles have also been featured, as well as dolls dressed as the nativity characters. When asked about the suitability of someone’s pieces, the reply of the committee is that "nothing is too humble or too fine to include."
The children of our community have a special room where nativity sets made of felt, plastic or wood are on exhibit. Some are quite whimsical, such as a cowboy nativity set and characters depicted from animals. A favorite with the children is the Snoopy Nativity Set. Everything is displayed at eye level for the children, who are allowed to touch the pieces in this room.
People Come from Far and Wide
"O Come Let Us Adore Him" has grown in scope, as well as attendance, over the past three years. Last year alone, more than 600 people from seven different states attended the event.
"I expect that we will have even more people attending this year because, in addition to presents and parties, I think people are looking for a meaningful representation of what this time of year is really all about," says Connie Hardin.
So gather your family and head to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church this weekend to get an eyeful of the true spirit of Christmas!
For more information, call 931-388-3331 or visit their website by clicking HERE.