By Morgan Bryce
For 63 years, the Rocky Brook Manger has served as visual representation of the Biblical Christmas story for Opelika residents.
Located behind a small lake, the scene depicts the Three Wise Men presenting their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to baby Jesus, as the manger animals and Joseph and Mary observe.
Scott-Land Company President David Scott explained that his grandfather, I.J.
Scott, Sr., had the scene constructed in 1954 as a gift to his wife, Frances.
“My grandmother had talked about putting up a manger scene, so my grandaddy was good friends with Mr. (James) Crawford, who owned a sign shop on Second Avenue. He stopped by there one day and said, ‘hey, I have a picture of this manger scene. Can you make this for me?’” Scott said. “He had Mr. Crawford build that scene, and all the figures are life size. All the figures you see under there now are the originals from 1954.”
Scott said he began helping his grandfather set up the decorations in 1975, before fully inheriting the tradition in 1985.
Unlike his grandfather, Scott said he likes to set up the scene early, typically during the week after Thanksgiving. Setting up usually takes 2-3 hours to complete.
Beyond the scene’s tradition is the depth of its meaning and message, according to Scott.
“A lot of people forget, and a lot of people don’t do the things that simulate what the true meaning of Christmas is, which is the birth of Jesus Christ,” Scott said.
The scene is for drivers-by only. Scott encourages visitors to come in the evening for the best view of the manger. Light will come on at dusk and last until 2 a.m. Scott’s home is located at 1003 Rocky Brook Road, between 5th and 6th avenues.