Sunday, December 16, 2007

Our Visit to Bethlehem

No, we didn't take a quick jaunt over to the middle east this past weekend, but we got as close as we may get for quite a while, until we actually do go visit the Holy Land someday.

While we were driving to our B&B for our anniversary celebration, we saw this huge light in the sky. As we got closer and closer to our own destination, we realized we were really close to the origin of that light, so we *followed the star*.

The star was coming from a *tiny* little church in Afton, Virginia, Hebron Baptist. Behind the church, and I kid you not, was an INCREDIBLE display. The entire town of Bethlehem was set up in a huge field behind their church. And, I dont mean little shacks made of leftover wood, this place was incredible. I don't even think I can describe it.

We happened to arrive just as the angels were singing and proclaiming to the shepherds in the field (many shepherds, and many real sheep) that Jesus was born in the stable. We followed the drama throughout Bethlehem, past all of the town artisans and homes, and people in the streets (including kids running around, soldiers and beggars, one who even asked Kurt for some food) until we found ourselves at the stable... with real ENORMOUS camels, and donkeys, and mules, and goats, and sheep.

We enjoyed looking around and speaking to the 1st century inhabitants, all of whom stayed in character and were very knowledgeable about their trade. We learned how papyrus paper was made, and even got to hold some. They had a restaurant and you could sample food from the 1st century (at least what they would have cooked, not ACTUAL 1st century food!)

When the soldier declared loudly that the streets of Bethlehem were closed, we signed the census on the way out and left a small donation.

This church puts on this drama every 45 minutes of every evening of the last 10 days before Christmas, every year.

We were so impressed with the level of detail and quality of the place. We plan on taking the kids back next year so they can get an understanding of what Bethlehem may have been like when Jesus was born.

Here is their website. I borrowed the photos from their website to include in my blog. Truly, it was an incredible production!

Bethlehem Village

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