Happening: December 12th, 13th, 14th and 19th, 20th, 21st from 6PM-9PM.
Step back in time and experience the sights and sounds of Bethlehem on that very first Christmas Eve. Beginning on December 12th, the Lynnhaven Baptist Church puts on the extravaganza of the Christmas season. It’s an event that you have to see to believe, and one that won’t disappoint. Each evening, weary travelers will be escorted through the little town of Bethlehem taking part in the census and searching for a place to stay. Roman soldiers guard the gates and roam the streets as villagers go about their daily lives. In addition there will be live animals, over 75 costumed actors and tree lined streets bringing this village to life.
The church’s ‘A Walk through Bethlehem’ is a realistic depiction of the town of Bethlehem, and much like the name suggests, the visitors experience a true feeling of walking through the historic town. The visitors actually become part of the play, as they return to the biblical town for the census. The craftsmanship and volunteers are what make this event possible, it’s an enormous effort and makes the experience truly unique and certainly worth the drive from any point on the shore. Local carpenters from around the area build an entire village scene on the church’s lawn; wooden fences are then built (up to twenty feet high) to close in the production. Once you step out of the church, you are transported into “Bethlehem”, only the sky is visible with any signs of 20th century living gone.
It’s truly an experience you and your family don’t want to miss out on. Before entering the town of Bethlehem, you see it’s closed off and patrolled by a Roman soldier on horse and chariot, all members of the group must pay their “tax” in the form of a coin provided previously—back in the modern world – by church volunteers. Once inside, scenes of an over 2,000-year-old town are everywhere. Volunteers call out from their shops, there’s a working fishmonger with the day’s fresh catch displayed, a baker passing out unleavened bread, a tanner, a person selling fruits and vegetables, another with chickens—real chickens still clucking in a wooden cage – a working blacksmith making horseshoes, a potter and brass maker. The village is lit only by fire and torchlight. Palm trees provide authentic foliage to the middle-eastern scene. The floor is dirt and show hoof prints.
Coming upon the town’s only inn, you’re informed there are no rooms available after your long travels. The tour ends by the manger, but not before the shepherds reveal what the angel had told them, an angel who hovers above, seeming to float in the sky. And then, the star of the evening, the reason for the season, is revealed lying in the manger.
Lynnhaven Baptist Church has graciously created an authentic depiction of the town of Bethlehem. The experience is provided free of charge as an outreach service to the local community, and for those who travel far and wide to see this realistic portrayal recreating the night Jesus was born.