|A Live Walk Through Event|
Last night we enjoyed a preview of “A Visit to Bethlehem”, a walk through large scale replica of Bethlehem the night of Jesus birth. As a resident of North Florida I had heard of the live Nativity event for more than a decade, but had never attended. Only open for two nights a year, this event is a major draw for those seeking to celebrate the birth of Christ and get a taste of what it was like 2,000 years ago.
|Walk through the City of Bethlehem|
|Artisans work their craft|
I must admit I was only expecting a few people gathered around a manger and a little petting zoo of animals. The experience however, really surprised me. Walking through the city you are greeted by merchants selling their wares, artisans making pottery, and boys trying to get you to buy their goats. On top of that loud Middle Eastern music blares through the air adding to the effect. Were it not for the brisk night air and smell of animals, you might think it was just a nice pageant. However, with all the elements combined you really feel transported to another culture, and your imagination takes flight.
|Merchants interacting with the crowd|
|Lots of animals to pet|
It was a stretch bringing our daughter out later in the evening since she is usually pretty tired, but as soon as we walked through the city she was mesmerized. She got to see goats, sheep, alpacas, a camel, donkeys, calves, ducks, and rabbits. It was like seeing her in a foreign country. Topping off the tour you pass by a glimpse of the nativity with Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus (a real baby).
|Pottery being made|
|Say hello to the camel|
|What day is it???|
After 22 years of creating the scene, Ponte Vedra Presbyterian Church has certainly won my heart by giving us a moment to interact with history and inviting us to observe the most celebrated moment in time, the birth of Christ for whom we celebrate Christmas.
Don’t miss the event this year. With a cast of over 200 portraying the city of Bethlehem, it’s an experience to remember and one you will want to make a tradition year after year.