LINCOLN (SNR) – The “Christ in Christmas” nativity scene, or belén, at Cristo Rey Church, 4221 J St. in Lincoln, opens to visitors Dec. 21.
The detailed display, which is more than 28 feet long, will be open to the public 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily from Dec. 21 until Jan. 11, 2018.
“We learn as children that the word Catholic means universal,” said parishioner Jose Herrero. “In this spirit we build every year our manger at Cristo Rey Church with people from different parts of the world. Just to mention a few: Kenya, China, Vietnam, Spain, Italy, United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, El Salvador, and Peru.”
He said the nativity represents not only the joy of Christ’s birth, but it also reflects the extreme hardships that Mary and Joseph had to endure to bring baby Jesus into the world.
“They started as a homeless family, away from their loved ones,” he said. “They had escaped as refugees to Egypt and suffered great persecution. Through this manger we pay tribute to the Holy Family and all those that also had to, or are now going through similar hardships. The manger at Cristo Rey Church is built to welcome and embrace humankind in all its great diversity and also to shelter in it the peace and love for all those who come to visit.”
He said donations left each year by visitors to the nativity have been shared with those most in need: orphanages like Nyumbani, that provide housing and education and health care to more than 3,000 orphan children; Faith and Hope Orphanage, with around 40 severely handicapped children who have been abandoned; Kitukuni Church, an extremely poor community in rural Kitui (Kenya), where Cristo Rey parishioners are helping them finish the construction of their parish center.
“To make this Christmas a happy one,” Herrero encouraged, “come and visit our manger to fill your heart with love and joy, to lead a simple life like Mary and Joseph, and give plenty to those in need as Jesus did.”