Our nativity window which uses the sunlight to transmit its stained glass story both inside and out, is considered one of the finest in the Southwest and the largest in the state. And it serves as a constant reminder of Jesus and the miracle of his birth.
The window, which measures 12 feet wide by 26 feet high, was installed in 1909 by Ford Glass Co. of Minneapolis, at a cost of several thousand dollars. Today, it is worth many times that amount. The money for the window was raised by Emmanuel Guild, a devoted group of women who prepared dinners and teas, conducted bazaars and quilt fairs and sold countless articles of handiwork.
The window features a variety of colors and was designed to be interesting under different light conditions. When color was initially put into glass in churches, it was for the practical purpose of dimming disagreeably sharp light. Today, different colors are more prominent on cloudy and sunny days, and at night the window is sometimes lighted from within so passersby can note its beauty.
The picture shows six people: Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus, and three worshippers of the newborn king. Two are shepherds, one holding a lamb and the other kneeling, and the third is a woman believed to be Mary’s older sister. The stable and manger are featured, and away on the hillside, six miles to the north, shines the city of Jerusalem, done in a white-blue color.
Plockhorst, the artist who created our windows, incorporated a tiny “Christmas rose” in the lower left corner of the window. It is based on the legend that the little sister of the boy holding the lamb was crying because she had no gift for the Christ child. An angel appeared to her, and upon learning of her sorrow, extended its arm and immediately wild pink roses sprang up all over the hills of Palestine. The little girl picked the flowers and presented them to baby Jesus.
The botanical name of the flower is Black Hellebore, and to this day they bloom only during the Christmas season.
Another legend concerns the palm trees along the banks of the brook. The birds, having no gift to offer, carried seed in their beaks and dropped them at the water’s edge, from which grew the palms. After that, the trees would bow and wave their branches in adoration of the Holy child.
The stained glass also features an elaborate border of Gothic influence that features geometrical figures and religious motifs. The symbol of the Trinity is repeated several times and in many ways in the border.