Local Woman Creates Heavenly Sight Inside her Home - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Local Woman Creates Heavenly Sight Inside her Home

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The Christmas season doesn't officially begin for Maria Dodson-Estevez until midnight tonight. When the clock strikes 12 her nativity scene - weeks in the making - will be complete.

She recently was gracious enough to allow us to tape inside her home.

But even before the final touch - it's pretty spectacular.

"I grew up with a nativity scene every year and my mom made a special effort of setting it up."

And the tradition continues, but Maria's nativity doesn't just sit on a mantle in her home. It fills up her entire living room! 
And, as you can imagine, it takes weeks to set up.

"The day after Thanksgiving I begin by changing furniture, moving paintings and pictures."    

Before unpacking boxes and boxes of a collection she started 42 years ago!

"This is my Christmas."

Her nativity is set to light - and narrated scene-by-scene - explaining the Christmas story.

Every year she displays it from beginning to end.

"We have a desert here and then the announcement. The Arch Angel, Gabriel, came to announce to Mary that she was to have a child, Jesus."

As Maria guides us through it.

"Joseph and Mary are going on their way to Bethlehem."    

You realize her attention to detail from the landscapes to strategically placed lights, Mary tries to replicate what she's seen during her travels.

"I have been to the Holy Land three times and every time is special. The first time was the most spectacular."

And every place she visits, she adds to her collection like camels - roaming the sandy desert - from Egypt.

Maria's nativity, which she has blessed by a priest every year, is now nearly 100 pieces - from around the world.

"Especially in Italy. In the Holy Land and in Egypt. It has been so special to visit the places where Jesus grew up."

She finds the most joy sharing her nativity with neighbors, friends and especially their children.

"I love to see the little kids’ eyes, the big eyes."    

But most kids who come to admire the masterpiece have the same question...

"And they look and they ask ‘where's baby Jesus?’ And I say not yet (laugh)."

But at midnight tonight, a swaddled baby will be added to a humble manger.

It’s the moment Maria looks forward to most. The final - but most important - part of this extravagant scene that marvels Maria every December 25th.

"And every year I say it's the most beautiful one. ‘It gets better and better?' It gets better and better."    

We're fortunate to be able to share this special nativity with you, as it will be the last time Maria puts on display one of this size.  

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