Jackson, MS (WLBT) - It's funny how a little thing can grow into something else entirely. Take for instance the nativity set that Mrs. Charles Hyde Weissinger of Cary's, cousin sent her from Germany back in the 1960s. It was prized by the family and set atop the piano that Christmas, and set Mrs. Weissinger on a search that has lasted up until today, to find more and more nativity's for her collection.
It was a favorite family tradition to retrieve the collection from where they had been stored and set them up every year, until over the past couple of years, as the collection has passed the 200 mark, there simply wasn't enough room in the Weissinger home to display them all. But instead of it being the end of the tradition, the place where they are displayed has simply been shifted, to one of the large rooms at the Methodist Church at Cary. This is the second year the nativities have been displayed there, making this old Weissinger family tradition, a brand new tradition for the folks in Cary. Daughter Maryanne Weissinger Smith says this is a better arrangement for lots of reasons.
Maryanne Smith says, "we were coming in every year at Thanksgiving and setting up all the nativities at her house, but the only people who go to see it was my family when we came at Christmas. And we started thinking that we thought more and more people would like to see it so the Methodist church here offered to let us use their facilities so that we could have the public com in just to view it."
There are nativities from all over the world in the collection. Many Mrs. Weissinger collected herself from trips abroad. And then friends found about her hobby and started giving her nativities THEY had found. There are some unusual one's in the collection. For instance the one her cousin, a Catholic Priest in Peru sent back home to her.
"He got a Peruvian Longneck Nativity that he packed in a box and he hiked out and he had it shipped to my mother," says Maryanne.
From as far away as the other side of the world to as close-by as the set made from cotton picker spindles by Rolling Fork folk artist, Lee Washington, baby Jesus in a manger, wise men and shepherds, over 200 different interpretations of that theme in this one room. An old family tradition for the Weissingers, is now a NEW Delta Christmas tradition at the Methodist Church in Cary.
The nativities are open free to the public this Saturday, the 18th from 10 until 4 and then again Sunday the 19th from 1 until 4.