For some three decades, a lighted display on the exterior windows of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s International Center in St. Louis has shown the progressing scene of the Nativity from the beginning of Advent through Epiphany, the holiday commemorating the visit of the Wise Men to the Baby Jesus.
In the window display, which faces Kirkwood Road, three Wise Men and their camels, and a shepherd and sheep, move slowly across the building toward the city of Bethlehem. While Bethlehem is outlined with white lights, the place representing where Christ was born is illuminated in red lights, with an orange light representing Baby Jesus.
Above the stable, a star lights the way for the Wise Men bringing their gifts for Baby Jesus, as referenced in Matthew 2. An angel hovers overhead.
DCE Audrey Duensing-Werner, who’s in her first year as director of Family Ministry at Concordia Lutheran Church — located a few blocks from the International Center (IC) — first noticed the “moving” Nativity scene in early December when she was in her car, waiting for a stoplight to change. Duensing-Werner “loved the visual,” she told Reporter, and thought perhaps it was something she could weave into her ministry.
“I’m always looking around at my everyday, ordinary world and trying to notice opportunities for children and families to see God’s story around them. And then pointing them to those opportunities,” she said via email.
During one of the congregation’s weekly “Adventapalooza” events for families, as participants made Nativity ornaments for their Christmas trees, Duensing-Werner said she “pointed out the moving Nativity lights on the side of the IC” and “encouraged families to drive past in the evening and look at it, and then talk about it.” The DCE also gave each family a devotion they could say while observing the lighted Nativity from their cars.
The display was hand-crafted by artist Brother Mel Meyer of the Marianist Galleries located on the grounds of Vianney High School, behind the International Center. Meyer died of heart disease Oct. 12 at the age of 85.
The display is illuminated from 4 to 11 p.m. daily through Epiphany on Jan. 6.