In the 21st century, there aren’t many places where you can barter for goods, join the Roman army or learn how to shepherd a flock of sheep.
But for a few magical days each year, the first century comes alive at Emmanuel Baptist Church, with Bethlehem Star.
The annual event, Dec. 6, 7 and 8, welcomes people of all ages to experience Bethlehem at the time of Christ’s birth.
“For our congregation, it is a privilege to work together and share a journey, an experience of what it might have been like at that time,” said Terri Jones, with the church. “We are happy to share it with our community.”
The journey begins in the marketplace, bustling with activity. Participate in the Roman census and receive a few shekels to spend in the market. Vendors will be busy selling their wares, everything from toys, leather and spices, to tea, wool and bread.
“The shepherds are in from tending the flock and have brought in some sheep and goats,” said Jones. “See if you have what it takes to be a soldier in the Roman army — there is something for everyone.”
From the marketplace, watch the live theatrical play, Wise Men Still Seek Him. It’s a journey with the wise men as they seek and find the Messiah.
“He was just a boy; they did not know what his life would hold, but they believed in who he was. Take the journey with the wise men as they ponder the life of Jesus.”
The play runs every half hour, with the last play half an hour before closing each evening.
“Each year in the live play we try to share a glimpse of what different people may have been thinking and feeling.”
The journey continues to the Christmas Wonderland. Live stills capture those long-ago moments when: angels proclaimed the news to startled shepherds; Mary and Joseph pondered their new baby; and wise men consulted the skies.
“We round out the journey in the Christmas Wonderland where the love given on that first Christmas is still real today.”
Pass under the arch and see present-day shoppers celebrating those long past moments with their own acts of love — evidence that the message brought by the star is still real today.”
A cup of hot chocolate and a snack will round out your journey. The entire journey from marketplace, to the live play, to Christmas Wonderland takes about one hour to complete.
Watch for the “Star of Bethlehem” shining every night from the church.
“Just follow the light shining in the evening sky right to Bethlehem. This Christmas, take your family and friends on a spectacular journey you won’t want to miss.”
Bethlehem Star takes place Dec. 6 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 7 and 8 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., both days.
Emmanuel Baptist Church is at 3412-15th Ave., Vernon, with parking across the street at the army camp. For more details, see www.emmanuelvernon.ca