The Gift of the magi

The Gift of the Magi windows are a cherished part of our church history, and are a labor of love as a gift to our community during the Advent season. 

The original windows were retired in the early 2000s, and in 2019 they were re-imagined on a lightweight material and the tradition of displaying them in our chapel windows was revived.

This year we are thrilled to join with some other downtown and Huntington-area churches to provide a "walking tour" of the historical Advent displays in Huntington. 

The story behind the windows

In the late 1980s, Pat Mann traveled to Green Lake, Wisconsin with a group of Fifth Avenue Baptist Church members for a music conference. During her free time on the trip, she sat by the lake and sketched the Magi on small pieces of paper. 

Soon after the trip, a group of Huntington's downtown churches joined together to create Christmas scenes as a gift to the Huntington community. It was decided that Fifth Avenue Baptist Church's contribution would be to display the Three Wise Men in the windows of the chapel along Fifth Avenue. 

How would they create these massive pieces of art from tiny sheets of paper? 

The project was a labor of love as members of all ages worked together to bring the vision to life in a meaningful display. Pat transferred her drawings from paper to large pieces of muslin cloth measuring 160 inches tall and 60 inches wide. She laid out the stained-glass design and numbered each section to create a paint-by-number project. 

Once they were on cloth, Mike Shaver and Cabell Glass encased them in glass. Duncan Box Lumber Company framed them with heavy oak frames. When it was time to hang them each year, Roger Sizemore assisted with American Electric Power trucks to mount the glass pieces onto the windows. Floodlights were installed to shine on the windows and highlight what Fifth Avenue Baptist Church called "The Gift of the Magi."

Fast forward to November 2019, the pieces were laid out in Smith Hall. Paris Signs brought a drone to church to capture high-quality images and specific measurements of the three window frames. The Three Wise Men in the stained-glass pieces were recreated on a lightweight material, and were displayed in the chapel windows once again for all on 5th Avenue to enjoy. 

We are grateful for the resources to combine tradition with innovation in order to continue sharing these beautiful works of art which annually serve as a reminder of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the family of faith who works together to: 

  • help each other become more like Jesus.
  • love one another unconditionally.
  • worship God wholeheartedly.
  • help people meet Jesus.
  • love our hurting world.