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.
How is it done?
The Christmas Crèche Exhibit is a labor of love by more than 600 volunteers. Over five days, the church is transformed into the immersive exhibit, which is open to visitors for five more days, followed by a day and a half tear-down. Volunteers cover a variety of duties from exhibit building, hosting, security, entertaining, publicity, nightly cleanup and more.
Last year over the five-day exhibit, we received over 10,000 visitors from 54 Californian cities, 14 US states, and 13 countries.