A call went out at a recent Wadena City Council meeting for residents to consider getting out their Christmas Nativity scenes.
Wadena Mayor George Deiss made the announcement during the regular meeting Tuesday, Dec. 11, noting that a resident felt there were not as many up as in years past.
"If you have a Nativity scene, let's get it out," Deiss said. "I had an older member of our community contact me and was very concerned that we are losing our interest in the Christmas spirit after what we went through about four years ago."
Since 2015, the city has seen an explosion in the number of Nativity scenes out on display on private property. This comes after a 2015 decision by the city to remove a Nativity scene from the city's Burlington Northern Park after a legal challenge by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The group pointed out that having the display, which models the birth and celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, on city property was a violation of the separation of Church and State.
The display was purchased by the Wadena Ministerial Association and moved to the Wesley lawn across from Tri-County Health Care in 2015. At that location, the Ministerial Association annually hosts a lighting ceremony. The display depicts Joseph, Mary, the baby Jesus and an angel carrying a banner with the message, "Gloria in excelsis deo," which is Latin for "Glory to God in the highest." The display gathers further attention by a tunnel of lighted arches along pathways to the scene.
Displays can still be seen throughout the community but Deiss encouraged those listening to bring them out if they have not done so yet and he wished everyone a Merry Christmas.
The city had displayed a Nativity scene for over 40 years, according to previous articles on the display.