This is a blog from last Christmas but I wanted to share it with you all again. Faith Chapel in Spring Valley is doing the Bethlehem Story again this year for 3 nights only 6-9pm (no admittance after 8:30) on Friday-Sunday December 6-8 2013. It was an incredible night for our family. The kids had a blast and can’t wait to do it again this year. If I blog about it this year it will be too late for you to go, so here is our experience from last year.
Yep, you read that right. We went to Bethlehem last night and it was amazing! Faith Chapel (a local church near us) built a full on Bethlehem in their back lot. It had everything from animals to food, angels to the birth of our Savior Jesus! We had a wonderful time and the kids absolutely loved it. It ends tonight, but if you get a chance to go, you will be glad you did. I had no idea what to expect and I did not have my fancy camera with me. I took some pics with my phone and the images are not great but you can at least see a little bit of what we did.
The first thing you do when you walk into the little town of Bethlehem is register with the census. Delaney and Teagan each signed their names on the parchment scrolls. They then pay you for registering, in shekels, and you can spend the shekels throughout Bethlehem. It took us about 2 hours to make our way through the town. After we registered we heard angels singing and they were proclaiming the birth of Jesus. We saw the star and we did a lot of fun things as we made our way to the stable to see baby Jesus in the manger. The kids had a great time learning about how it was to live when Jesus was born.
We stopped by the Scribe and learned how to write in Hebrew. Did you know that Hebrew is written from right to left? The kids traced letters in Hebrew with a special pen dipped in ink.
We visited the Tanner, his name was Isaaic and his brother-in-law whose name was Mordicai. They had all kinds of animal pelts. I happened to be wearing a leopard skin coat and they were quite intrigued by it!
Next we were off to the basket shop where the kids learned how to wet reeds and weave baskets. The ladies were all so nice and patient.
After that we stopped by the jewelry store. the kids picked out a bead and the ladies helped them make bracelets. Delaney loves beads so she thought that part was really great.
They had a sharpening wheel and a blacksmith. The kids got to crank the wheel and pound the steel.
All the people in the town were busy working and watching for the Governor’s soldiers. We even saw the governor. He was big and kind of scary and the ladies told us not to look at him or talk to him!
There were games for the kids to play. They tossed rings in the basket, bowled and tried walking on stilts. They also had clothing vendors, Grain miller, candle maker (one of my favorites) and a story-teller.
The potter was very interesting. We watched him as he made pottery on his wheel. The kids got to make a clay bowl and Delaney has told me that she doesn’t want to put it in the oven, that the lady told her it would dry in 4 days. The potter was next to the yarn spinner and across from the carpenter.
The whole time we were traveling through, we were spotting animals for the “Name the Animal” game cards we were filling out. Speaking of animals, they had a petting corral where they had the coolest chickens, pigs and bunny rabbit.
Next to the petting coral was the brick maker. I think this was the highlight of the night. They had a big barrel of mud. They kept saying something about horse and cow dung but I think I am safe to say this particular brick maker used just plain mud. The kids got super dirty making bricks and they had a blast. Thankfully they had a wash station and the kids cleaned up and we moved on.
All of a sudden we saw this crazy guy (his name was Joseph, or Jofess if you are my kids) running though the streets saying his wife was going to have a baby and he needed a place to stay. We were right by the Inn and they had no room. I heard someone say something about a stable and the next thing you know they were hurrying into the stable and we could hear them saying something about a baby coming.
Angels appeared in the sky and they were singing about the birth of Jesus! Delaney wanted to get on my shoulders so she could see the angels better. Teagan was in awe and could barely talk. We were invited into the stable to see the baby Jesus and the kids were so excited.
The last thing we did was walk through the market place spending out shekels. We bought nuts and berries and sampled pomegranates and goat cheese. The kids used the last of their shekels to buy shells before it was time to leave. On the way out Joseph came up to Delaney and got down on her level and talked to her. What a sweet man. She was so excited to have talked to him and he was nice to take the time with her.
All the way home they just kept asking if it was real. I asked them if they liked it and they said yes, they want to go back tomorrow. I told them the people and the animals were real and the things they did were real but it was a pretend Bethlehem. They were not disappointed by that but I think they were still a little confused(a good confused). I guess kind of like the jungle cruise at Disneyland. I think I was about 12 before I realized those animals were not real (don’t tell Brad, I think he still believes).
So, if you can, go! You will love it. The people of Faith Chapel have worked so hard and it is a wonderful experience. I only wish it was on for another weekend because we would go again. It really makes you think about the birth of Jesus and what it was like for Mary and Joseph. As Christmas approaches I think it is important to remember the true meaning of the season.
Another day in my life.