A Native Depiction Of The Nativity

A crèche is a display depicting the Holy Family at the time of the birth of Jesus. It includes Mary, his mother and Joseph, his guardian. The three magi, visiting shepherds and adoring angels are typically depicted, along with various stable animals.

Saint Peter’s Church commissioned this crèche in the 1980s. It is the work of Joyce Pardington of Santa Fe, and the gift of a number of donors. Figurines are made in the cuchina doll tradition of Americans native to this land, a purposeful enculturation that does not seek to represent a historic birth of Jesus in a Bethlehem stable or any particular immigrant population.


Each of the exquisite pieces is best viewed in close proximity. The figures are made entirely of natural fibers and the cloth that clothes each is highly decorated. The color pallet is varied and bold.

Each figure is adorned with objects that would have been worn by the persons they depict, water jugs and tools among them. Medallions of the symbols of the four evangelists are affixed to baby Jesus.

True to the tradition in which the crèche is made, this display includes a rooster.

The base on which the crèche is assembled is a design conceived and fabricated by Duane Skoog of Saint Peter’s Church.