A Journey to Bethlehem

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Last evening we bundled up for the long cold walk down the driveway to climb in the van for a short jaunt to Bethlehem.

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A couple months ago, as I was researching things to do around Pittsburgh at Christmastime for a class I was asked to teach, I heard about a local church who puts on an annual drive-thru living nativity.

I was looking for something special to do with the kids in the spirit of Christmas, that was close by, didn’t require getting out of the car, and free. This just happened to meet all those requirements so we decided to check it out.

The church hosting the event was about 30 minutes south of us.

It was a bitterly cold night with the wind chill hovering below zero.

We easily found the church.

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When we pulled in we were directed to the end of a line of cars slowly moving in a loop around the parking lot, stopping at stations along the way.

We began the experience by being greeted by friendly members of the church handing out CDs that we were to play as we drove from station to station.

Before we began our trek, however, we were stopped by a Roman soldier, informing us of the census decree issued by Cesear Agustus requiring us to journey to our home town to be counted. He asked where we hailed from. When we told him the name of our town he told us to journey there by way of Bethlehem.

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We then began our trip.

As we moved from station to station the CD narrated the story of Christ’s birth as it unfolded before us.

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At each station we sat in the van and viewed the scene before us as that part of the Christmas story was told over the CD playing in the van.

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It was magical.

Much of the “cast” was comprised of children, which made it even more charming and special.

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The boys loved the assortment of animals seen as we worked our way through the story.

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It was such a cold night. The actors were bundled up in extra layers but I know they must have been freezing, which only made the experience and the spirit felt there, as a result of their service and sacrifice, all the more profound.

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It was charming and sweet, beautiful and holy. The experience proved to be a perfect way to really feel the spirit of Christ this Christmas season.

The story ended with Mary and Joseph in the stable, looking down on the manger. But as the CD said, “The story doesn’t end there.” This is just the first chapter of the greatest story ever told…

The greatest story ever lived.

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At the end of the journey volunteers were accepting donations for charity (for those who choose to donate) and collecting the CDs. They also were there to invite families into the church for cookies and crafts for the kids. We chose not to go in. Things had gone so well with the boys and the spirit felt was so peaceful I didn’t want to chance “breaking the spell!”  😉

So we opted to head home.

It was a wonderful experience. It is being offered again tonight from 6-9pm, so for those locals looking for something special to do tonight we highly recommend a trip to Bethlehem (via Mt. Carmel Church.)

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