Residents of Temple View Drive in Bountiful City, Utah have a special love for Christmas, and they have found a special way to share it. The creation of a progressive Neighborhood Nativity started taking shape over a year and a half ago, when neighbors were talking about holiday decoration ideas. Steve Ford, resident and organizer, is originally from southern California. He liked the idea of duplicating a version of the Hasting’s Ranch Pasadena Christmas displays, where each street is decorated in a theme. Meanwhile, a neighbor was given a copy of artist Joseph Brickey’s Christmas book, entitled “When Jesus Was Born in Bethlehem“.
Brickey’s vibrant, realistic images seemed to leap off of the page. They were not just telling the story of Christmas, but bringing it to life! Each painting had a way of evoking the sights, sounds, smells, and emotions of that very first Christmas. The Temple View community had found their nativity!
Neighbor representatives anxiously contacted the artist about their idea to display his images, and were thrilled when Mr. Brickey happily extended his permission, and blessing, at no charge. Now the neighbors rallied at full speed! Funds were pooled and donations were gathered. A special printer was found that could create large screen-printed banners using UV protected ink on durable high-wind-resistant canvass. Paintings and scriptures for the display were carefully selected, and the perfect display location’s were assigned. Wires needed to be run to provide halogen lighting, and large stakes needed to be driven into the ground to support the banners.
Steve acknowledges his location on the Bountiful mountain bench poses a few extra challenges the folks in Pasadena don’t have to worry about. Namely snowstorms, blizzards, freezing temperatures and severe wind (just to name a few)! In fact, during the nativity’s 2008 debut season, a particularly bad windstorm hit the display. Steve describes how even the heavy foot-long ground-stakes were not strong enough to hold his extra-long banner, and “it took off like a sail”. This year, neighbors have invested in ground-stakes that will be extending over 2 feet deep! Special care is also being taken to ensure that the lighting does not get buried in one of Bountiful’s famous “Lake Effect” snowfalls. The weather may get frightful, but these neighbors plan to ensure each visitor’s experience is delightful.
And the result?
A nativity display that is not only a unique work of art to be seen, but also a work of love, to be felt. [special video sneak peek included below]
This year, the LDS Bountiful Temple joined forces with the neighborhood by agreeing to move their annual nativity scene to the East side of the temple grounds. In its new location, the large Holy Family display can be seen by many more passersby, and creates a beautiful finale for the neighborhood display route. Temple workers recently added a lighted star which hangs tenderly from a tree branch directly over the crèche.
A Bountiful Temple View Drive nativity experience is sure to become a favorite holiday tradition. The display is not only beautiful, but profound. It can be enjoyed from the comfort of a heated automobile, or up close and personal on foot. It offers a lovely way to contemplate the gifts of the season. Steve also assures me that “this is just the beginning”!
Apparently, neighbors have been suggesting improvement ideas, additional lighting options, and plans to include more of Brickey’s award-winning artwork in the future. The creative possibilities are endless! However, in the meantime, each visitor to Temple View Drive can rest assured they will leave as a recipient of an incomparable gift.
This neighborhood nativity is free to the public and runs officially from Dec. 1st – 31st. Visitors should enter at the north end of Temple View Drive loop to follow the story chronologically. The display will be kept lit until midnight every evening. (Please note that the Bountiful Temple lights, including the crèche, will be turned off at 11:00 PM). To visit, map your route at this link!
For all of my many readers who cannot travel to Bountiful, or will enjoy revisiting the experience, I have created this musical montage video. I wish for you the special joy and peace promised by Christmas! – MoSop
Read more about artist Joseph Brickey, at Meridian Magazine
Congrats on being recognized by Mormon Times