Scenes of Faith: St. Augustine’s Christmas display demonstrates the love of Christ for all

Published 7:01 am Saturday, December 12, 2020

There’s great love in the work Lizett Rosas does; a reflection of the season and the faith in her heart.

While this faith is always with her, it’s now on display at St Augustine’s Catholic Church: A visual representation of the Bible that has expanded from Rosas’ love of the Nativity.

The scene, which tells stories from the Bible, expands from the entrance to the sanctuary and across the east wall, coming very nearly to the east doors. Some of the scenes are marked with Bible verses further expanding the stories held within.

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“We want people to see something beautiful and feel hope,” Rosas said. “For them to feel love.”

Each moment depicted is intricately detailed down to the baskets of carrots and potatoes in front of a hut. “Fires” made of cellophane and small pieces of wood and lit from inside with tiny lights are alight outside various huts. Palm trees made from pieces of pinecones lead small figures to the pyramids and depictions of the Nativity are featured prominently. Long reeds are made from nothing more than dried plants and large pieces of foam are shaped to resemble hills or the sides of mountains.

To study the entirety of the setting is to admit that you are still going to miss something. Nevertheless, as Father James Steffes looked over the scene Thursday, he saw deep meaning in the work Rosas put into the display.

“It’s a visual depiction of what we celebrate in Jesus Christ,” Steffes said thoughtfully. “A sign of the hope and joy that Jesus is real. This display, this piece of art is what we all should be in life and that’s Jesus Christ.”

The work Rosas put into the piece can find its beginnings during last year’s season. Working on her own Nativity scene at home, Rosas asked Steffes if she could work in her vision to the pieces already at the church.

Steffes gave her his blessings and around two to three months ago, Rosas started her work. New elements were added throughout the process and then this past Sunday, Rosas and her family began moving the scene to the church and putting the display in position.

After mass and the Rosary, they spent between 1:30-4 p.m. setting up and then after a short break came back to continue the world deep into the night.

“We enjoyed that,” Rosas said. “I thought it was early, but when you do something you enjoy, time just flies.”

Rosas husband, Francisco, has also found a source of childlike fun working with his wife on the project.

“It makes me happy because when I started working on this I’m just a child,” he said. “Happy mothers and fathers bring their kids, but it’s a reminder for us older people that we’re all kids inside.”

Rosas hopes that this is the beginning of a tradition, built into the foundation of those that walk past and take in the display of all that it is. She hopes they will not only take the message of hope created in each piece, but perhaps find reason to take part in working on the display.

“I would invite people to work on it,” Rosas said.

Rosas hopes that through this display, people can feel the hope and love coming from it and that this is for all people to enjoy.

“This is for everyone, to remind them that they are loved,” she explained. “It feels great. It is really true. There is more happiness in giving than receiving. All of this is a gift from God. I’m giving back what he gave me.”

It’s a wish that’s echoed by Steffes.

“This, and anything that comes from the church, take Christ and a little more reassurance and trust that God is with them,” he said.

The display will be up through Jan. 6  for those who would like to visit St. Augustines and view the display.