Nothing depicts the true meaning of Christmas more than a nativity scene.
Saint Frances of Assisi is credited with creating the first live nativity scene back in 1223 following a visit to the Holy Land.
This weekend Tuncurry Uniting Church will also create a nativity scene - in fact it will mount a display of an expected 200 over two days on Saturday and Sunday.
Pat Coster will showcase many nativity sets from her extensive collection accumulated during the past 25 years.
Her passion for nativity scenes began with the purchase of a piece from Mexico, unusually carved from a gourd.
"I just loved it, and then the children pick-up on that and for every birthday and Christmas they have given me one more."
It is tactile, and you want to hold it; it is one of my favourites.Pat Coster
The display also will include a gift from her daughter, bought at a market in Zimbabwe of Maasai people, while from Spain is a piece carved entirely from one block of timber
"It is tactile, and you want to hold it; it is one of my favourites," Pat said.
A set made by third world people from paper drinking straws will sit beside a scene bought in Alaska five years ago where the stable has been replaced by an igloo, huskies take the place of sheep and the baby Jesus is placed in a sleigh.
And, a sentimental favourite is an outback depiction, made by daughter Susan, complete with Australian native animals; Mary is an emu, three wise men - kangaroo, wallaby and emu, the shepherd is a dingo, Jesus is a koala, while there are echidnas, platypus, fairy penguin, crocodile and pelican.
Shown on an extensive buffet table from December 1 until the new year, it takes Pat at least two hours to put her display of silver, porcelain, paper, wood, china and shell nativities together.
Pat's collection includes scenes from throughout the world; Mexico, Africa, Perus, Spain, Alaska, Zimbabwe, England and Israel.
"They will all be on display here (Saturday and Sunday) and at my home during Christmas."
While you're with us:
A committed Christian, Pat said that was her main attraction to nativity scenes.
"I love the variety and the way they have been interpreted; they have adapted to their own circumstances."
The Tuncurry Uniting Church nativity display will be held on November 30 from 1-5pm and December 1 from 1-4pm.
A gold coin entry and Devonshire tea will be available.
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