Happiness is a Journey, not a destination.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Journey to Bethlehem

We took advantage of a unique opportunity last night.  The Mountain View Baptist Church in Layton puts on a "Christmas themed haunted house" (as Cole puts it), themed around events surrounding the story of the birth of Jesus.  For several years, we've pondered going, but it never seemed to work out with our schedules.  Cole actually took the kids last year while I was working, but after waiting an hour, and being told it was another hour's wait, with 3 little kids, he gave up. 

We were excited to surprise the kids with this unique experience.  We dressed warmly and headed to the church, arriving right as they were scheduled to open.  Or so we thought.  Despite their website saying they were open at 5, they were not open.  Apparently, they weren't going to be open until 6.  (This is my only complaint about the experience...when you are the "religious minority" in an area, and trying to pull in as many people as possible, shouldn't all the information you put out into the community be correct? ) We weren't the only ones who arrived thinking it started at 5, but being early did have its advantage.  We were only about 10 people back in the line, and were part of the first group through the Journey this season. 

From December 2010

From December 2010

They finally opened the doors and let us inside around 6.  We received our passports with our Hebrew names, and went into the chapel to wait. 
From December 2010

Talia was "Leah", and I was "Phebe"
From December 2010

Alec was "Isaiah", Kyle was "Daniel", and Cole was "Gabriel

From December 2010

We were led into a "courtyard", where we were "adopted" into a family to avoid the penalties of  Roman Law (groups that were not family were not allowed to boys were fascinated by the history lesson, and Talia thought the Roman soldiers were really scary).  We then went to the family home, where we were informed by Roman soldiers that we needed to go to Bethlehem to pay our taxes and register for the census. 
From December 2010

We traveled to Bethlehem, hearing the rumors of the birth of a new king, encountering Madgi searching for this king, witnessing the angel proclaiming the birth to the shepherds, and even being robbed along the treacherous way.  Throughout the process, we were "roughed up" by the Roman soldiers, who demanded to see our traveling passports regularly.  Alec, my extremely literal child, took everything to heart and held onto his passport like his life depended on it.  Which it would have, in that time in history. 

We arrived in Bethlehem, paid our tax, registered for the census, and our passports were stamped.  We spent some time in the marketplace, then tried to find a place to stay.  The inn was full(of course), but we did head to the stable to meet our friends Joseph and Mary, and meet the new King born. 

It was a really neat experience.  As I walked through it with my family, I was able to get into the spirit.  Being a mom, remembering how it feels to be heavily pregnant, and imagining how difficult it really was for Mary to travel so far, heavy with child, under so much oppression...It was very spiritual for me.  My family enjoyed it as well, the kids have learned the story, but to experience it puts things into such a different sperspective. 

I was sad I wasn't able to get better camera does well in low light situations, but there was almost no light for most of the journey.  Cole got a few better ones, posted on his blog

1 comment:

Mindy said...

I can see how that experience would help the kids (and us) to better understand that sacred event.