"This do ye...
as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me."
The Christmas Scene in Canby
"Let's have a competetion
between the houses and give a prize for the best Christmas Decorations." That was how it started, in 1979, among the members of the I'SOT Community in Canby.
From there, the scenes developed until the Community has decorated our town with life-size characters depicting the true spirit of Christmas.
Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. Luke 2:12
Each year hundreds of people stop in town during the holiday to view our scenes and take pictures of their children in them.
Though most of the scenes depict the life of Christ from the Nativity to the Resurrection, there is also a hundred foot depiction of the first Thanksgiving and in 2001 a scene was added to commemorate the heroic events of 9/11.
Scenes of Christ's life also include the story of the Woman at the Well, The Good Samaritan, Jesus Walking on the Water, Jesus in the Temple among the Elders, and Jesus Praying in the Garden.
All of our scenes have been created by people donating their time and talent. Materials are donated by businesses from as far away as Burney, Klamath Falls and Medford, Oregon (about a 150-mile radius) to bring a message of hope and goodwill towards men.
Scenes are composed of professionally-made mannequins and full-size animals, however many of the faces on the mannequins (especially in the Last Supper and the Nativity) are molds taken from the members of the I'SOT Community, lending an unusual realism to these scenes.
Pilate ordered "the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead:"
So they went, and made
the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
The camels and other animals were fashioned by spraying insulation material over frames after which the artists carefully sculpted the creature likenesses from the raw forms.
Marie Tolbert, founder of the I'SOT Community in 1960, says, "One year, a lady told me her grandson had pleaded with her to come out to Canby at Christmas time. 'Grandma, Grandma,' he said, 'Can we go out there where God lives?'"
"That makes it all worth the effort," says Mrs. Tolbert. Although she is no longer directly involved in the annual project, it was her love of the idea, her vision and creative inspiration that caused the I'SOT Community to focus primarily on the Biblical stories as their collective gift.
For many years now, there have been numerous artists and willing hands, minds and hearts contributing to the monumental task of setting up and maintaining the scenes along the highway in Canby.
Today it is the loving labor and oversight of the young adults of the I'SOT Community that brings these magnificent scenes to life each year.
Christmas is a special time of year to reflect on the gift of God to mankind. The I'SOT Community is proud to present this special Christmas gift to the rest of the community of Highway 299 and its neighboring areas as well as those sojourners who just happen along.
O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me,
except I drink it, thy will be done. Watch and pray,
that ye enter not into temptation. Matthew 26:41-42