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About the Exhibit

Crèche is a French word for a three-dimensional artistic representation of the birth of Jesus. St. Francis of Assisi is credited with popularizing the crèche tradition. While traveling in Italy in 1223, he was inspired by the sight of shepherds in moonlit fields, and beckoned villagers that Christmas Eve to light the sky with their torches, bring their animals, and re-enact the Nativity.

Beginning in Europe, the tradition eventually spread throughout the rest of the world. Each crèche reflects the time and culture of the artist and draws us to Jesus. For it is He — born of Mary, the Son of God, our Savior — who gives cause around the world to rejoice this Christmas season and always.

In many countries, families welcome friends and neighbors into their homes each December to share beloved crèches they have made and collected. Echoing this tradition, we open the doors of our church to invite all to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and answer His call, “Come unto me.”
If you own a unique nativity you would like us to consider for future exhibits, please tell us about it.

Loan a Crèche >

How is it done?

The Christmas Crèche Exhibit is a gift of love by hundreds of volunteers. Over five days, the church is transformed into an immersive exhibit, which is then open to visitors for five days. Volunteers bring to life all aspects of the exhibit, from design to database, exhibit building to musical performances, hosting to publicity, and more.

Each year the exhibit welcomes thousands of visitors from more than 50 California cities, a dozen US states and countries.  Thousands more people enjoy the Exhibit’s online photos and content. Since the inaugural year in1987, the Christmas Creche Exhibit has welcomed nearly half a million visitors in person and online.