Flickr Images

Journey To Bethlehem

Hey, that guy looks familiar!

My church, Journey Of Faith, put together a wonderful Christmas event this December. You can check them out at Journey To Bethlehem to find out more about the event.

In a nutshell, my church built a mini version of Bethlehem in their parking lot and opened the event to the public for four days -- and my oldest daughter and I were flower peddlers during the entire four days. (Note: We were going to be shepherds, but my daughter broke her ankle a month before the event so we had to find a more sedentary role. Flower peddlers turned out to be the logical choice.)

The event was a wonderful way for our church to remind Christians what Christmas is all about, and a fun way for families of any denomination to spend their December evening. When guests entered the event, the Three Wise Kings (complete with camel) gave them five shekels. When they entered the gates of Bethlehem they had to pay one of those shekels to the Roman tax collectors conducting the census. (The Roman guards were a hoot, they looked like a couple of linebackers -- and the guy played the part of Governor Quirinius was probably 150 pounds soaking wet.)

Once inside, the guests could spend their shekels on any of the many activities. For one shekel, guests could buy baklava, hot cider, fruit, bread and cheese, or a flower. The kids could also use the shekels to buy a leather strap and some beads to make a bracelet, make mud bricks, make a clay pot, or to enter the petting farm.

Also, during the course of the event, Joseph and a very pregnant Mary would weave their way through the crowds on a real donkey -- asking if they could stay the night somewhere. Our job as citizens of Bethlehem were to direct them to the inn, but when they got there they would be told there was no room, but instead were offered the stable.

Once Mary and Joseph were safely inside the stable, angels would appear and announce the birth of Jesus Christ using the verse straight out of the Bible. Guests would then line up at the stable to see the Baby Jesus. We even had a couple real babies play the role!

Happy Holidays to all my fellow blogger friends, Merry Christmas to my Christian friends, and a Happy New Year to one and all!

I kinda like this not-shavin'-deal!


Shuku said...

You guys look fantastic! Perfect for the parts, and your daughters are absolutely adorable. I doubt I'd be able to resist a pair of those big brown eyes looking up at me to buy a flower. Love the costumes. :)

Our play went into last day today with a bang, and finished great. Now I no longer have to spend an hour tying together a pair of girls to be Siamese twins...

Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

--Shuku (and Catalina!)

Mark McDonnell said...

Merry Christmas man. LOVE IT!!!


Anonymous said...

Sounds like an awesome time you've had over Christmas, Marcelo, and what a great way to open up to the public and get people involved in the Christmas story!

God bless you and your family over the holiday and in the new year!


sam michlap said...

Hi Marcelo and Merry Christmas. Thanks for the post, coming from you it's a real compliment. Hope all is well and I wish you and your family all the best in the new year.

Marcos Mateu said...

The guy at the background... is he the inn keeper?
Anyway, All the Best for the Christmas Season an a Happy 2007!

Marcelo Vignali said...

Ah yes Marcos, but only the Inn Keeper ONCE.

As a matter of fact, when we first opened on our first night, the Inn Keeper went AWL just as Joseph and a very pregnant Mary made their way up towards the Inn.

The director ran up towards me and said, "We can't find our Inn Keeper, you'll need to be the Inn Keeper right now." So, I took the flowers out of my head band and jumped into the role of Inn Keeper. I felt like a real louse telling Mary and Joseph there was no room at the Inn. So, I offered them to sleep in the Stable instead.

But, inside, I felt like driving them to my home! Heck, we've got a fold out sofa-bed.

Eduardo Avenir II said...

what an adorable idea! Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

JeN said...

They are soo adorable. And her little boots!! so cute. I wish you and your family all the best as well. Have a great New Year!

garymyers said...

Great Post Moe! You all look great.
Coincidentally, my son, Jack, also played the innkeeper in his pre-school nativity play (at Calvary Bible church in Burbank) And I came close to swapping my newborn in place of the plastic baby Jesus, but I chickened out at the last minute.
Hope you had great Christmas!

David Colman said...

nice Mo....looks like you have another job waiting for you......

Happy Holidays...thanx again for the card

Marcelo Vignali said...

Thanks everybody.

You are right Jen, those boot are really cute. My little one wears them everywhere! They're shaped like little ladybugs.

Gary, congrats on the baby. I've been to your blog, you are going crazy with this memory sketch thing. Good going, great characters and great drawings.

Anonymous said...

Very impressed by what I saw on this blog. A great Hello and congratulations from France.
"Très Bonne année 2007 à vous !"
(Happy new year 2007 to you !)


Pretty picture!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New year too! ;)

Patrick Morgan said...

Hope you had a Merry Christmas, and a fantastic new year. Keep the beautiful work coming in 2007.


Sebastien Gallego said...

Happy New year Marcelo!
I always liked you art!


Todd Harris said...

What a great event. thanks for sharing this with us. Have a great new year man!

Sketchbox said...

Mo, what a concept. It sounds like you guys took the interactive theater experience to the next evolutionary level. I'm going to borrow that idea for our congregation next year.

On a holiday note, my daughter came to us after church about a week before Christmas and said, "Mom, Dad, guess what? There were five kids in my class that thought Santa was real. I talked to them and now there are only three." To their parents, my apologies. To my daughter, well done. :)

Nothing's wrong with the Santa myth, but we feel like it interferes with the more important reality of Christ, so we play along at group events but make sure our kids know the authentic cause for celebration.

Felíz Año Nuevo, mi hermano.
1 Cor. 12:13 - Drink up!

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