Sunday, December 12, 2010

Journey to Bethlehem

Our church goes above and beyond your normal live nativity. It's called "Journey to Bethlehem" and it's amazing! Plus, the ultimate bonus feature: everything's free. Everything. I had orignially planned on taking pictures of my kids with Baby Jesus but I forgot my camera when we walked through as a family. And they had fevers this weekend so I just took pictures on my shift as the "Baby Runner", a.k.a. "Bethlehem Stable's Midwife/Lactation Specialist". Here's a walk-thru to get you excited about next year...

 Roman soldiers greet you at the gates & question your motives for entering Bethlehem. Once they realize you're just lowly Jewish slaves, they allow you to long as you have enough shekels to pay your taxes.

 A quick note about those two above. See the Roman guard on the right? His name is Cody and Esther Grace is infatuated. She immediately recognized him when we walked through and turned the flirt on big time. I think she likes guys in uniform.

Here's the tax collector. He's the first guy you meet and your guide gives him your shekels (plastic gold coins you get when you get your group number).
 Real props are used whenever possible. These are real fish being roasted over the fire in the marketplace. All the sights, sounds, and smells of Bethlehem are as authentic as we can get. Rumor is there's an actual oil lamp from Israel somewhere in the city. I've yet to find it.
Here's a view looking down the marketplace. The sides are lined with various shops & vendors that you greet along your journey. Each booth helps point towards Jesus in some way, whether it be a form of prophecy fulfilled or just town gossip.
 This is, I guess? No, the tanner I think. Anyways, he talks about how he stays unclean because of his work and can't worship at the temple. It's an unending cycle and wouldn't it make much more sense to cleanse once and for all instead of time and time again. (Yes, that's a real deer hide.)
 This the cheese booth. They're making cheese by swinging goat's milk inside a bladder back and forth until it curdles. Yum.
 The blacksmith's booth...
 The bread booth where you get to taste freshly baked bread.
 I think this is the virgin's booth. She runs into your group as you go through because she is in a hurry to get oil for her lamp. As is Jewish tradition, the bridegroom builds a house. Only the bridegroom's father knows when the work is done and when the bridegroom can retrieve his bride. Until then, the virgin must keep her lamp burning as she awaits his coming.
 The winemaker talks about the strange star in the sky and is accused of sampling his wares a little too often. At least, he did last year. This year the script was changed to being hit in the head with one of his wine jars. I think it's because we're Baptist.
 The carpenter's shop. I'm guessing Joseph had the night off- you know, with the baby and all... Notice what they're building.
 The potter's booth is where they talk about how pottery is the closest work to God's on earth. They fashion the clay into a vessel and try it in the fire. If it cracks in the flames, it's not good clay. But if it is good clay, then it becomes strong and fit for a King.
 Bethlehem is filled with animals! Here are some of the white ones is named Snowflake but I don't know which one.
 This is the Jewish home and it's constantly filled with children. The mother here has taken in so many visitors  because the city is so full. No place to stay here for us...gotta keep moving.
 Goats can be purchased for a mere 10 denarii. (That's more than a day's wages.) There's a whole lot of price gouging going on in the city tonight. And one of those goats's is Sugar. Again, don't know which one.
 The inn. Yep, you guessed it. No room. The innkeeper tells of a young couple that he lent his stable to because they were so tired and she was so close to her time. Wonder who that could be?
 This is the temple. See the menorrah and the table of consecrated bread. I'm telling you...authentic. This is Hannah and Simeon. Your group stops & hears Hannah's prayer thanking God for allowing her to see the Messiah.
 This is the best shot I could get of the shepards without using my flash and looking like the resident blogger.
 The angels appear before the shepards proclaiming Christ's birth. (Sorry for the blurriness.)
 You leave the shepard's field and find yourself coming upon a lowly stable where a star shines brightly to see......
....Joseph, Mary, and Baby Jesus! I can't believe I didn't get a picture of Jesus. He was SO sweet. His real name is Elijah and those are his real parents. He was such a good Jesus.
 And the real star of Bethlehem, Clyde the Camel. He nuzzles, gives sugars, and is by far the most well-behaved camel I've ever met.
 Okay, these pictures a bit out of order. This is the wisemen's tent.
 They come to worship Jesus while you admire Him at the stable with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
 Also known as, the three wise guys.
It looks like it's snowing in these pictures but the whole city's lit by fire and that's ash from all the wood fires around. Honestly, you don't even notice it when you're there but it looks like I was in a volcanic explosion or something.

The church does a really great job and I'm looking forward to next year! Hopefully, I'll remember my camera and can get pictures of my babies. You can only imagine the look in their eyes when they get to see Baby Jesus. It's almost as good as when they get to pet the camel.

1 comment:

Melia said...

Thanks for blogging it for all to see! I am sharing your blog with my mom so she can "Journey thru Bethlehem"! And thanks for the picture of the "wise guys". I didn't get to take a pic of Travis in his costume!


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