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Our Journey to Bethlehem

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A Katy Family Christmas Experience

This weekend, the Blanco family experienced Christmas in a new way.  We went to Current – A Christian Church in Katy Saturday night, which hosted a live Biblical experience, called “Journey to Bethlehem.”  From the time we entered that church, we were treated like part of the production, and we loved it.  We were placed in the “Abraham family” and ushered outside into the frigid air after refreshments and a brief overview.  Soon the reality of what Mary and Joseph and all the other Israelites experienced on their way to be “counted” in Bethlehem began to sink in.  The girls and I held hands nervously, but with a twinge of excitement, as we experienced firsthand the evening of a traveling Jew from our various hometowns to Roman-led Bethlehem.

Everyone was dressed in the garb of that day, complete with beards and sandals, and though we were “tourists,” we were participants in the adventure.  As we followed our guide, Benjamin, and his wife, Hannah, we not only met horses, sheep, camels, donkeys, and goats along the way, but we also began hearing the word of the coming Messiah.  Not only was He prophesied to come to earth, but He was going to save us from Roman rule.  As we were stopped along the way and checked by the dreaded Roman soldiers, we began to see why relief from their cruel rule would be miraculous.  Later on, we came upon the traveling Maggi, who graciously showed us the gifts they were bringing the new King – they were so elegant and royal in their wealthy robes and headpieces.

We passed shepherds in the field, who spoke excitedly of the rumored Messiah.   Just then, angels appeared in the far field and in the incredible glow of light, prophesied the coming King.  Moving on, we shivered in the cold, and at another checkpoint, our money was taken for “taxes.”  Benjamin was livid, as we were told about the census, but not about more taxes.  There was just enough money to find a place for the family to stay somewhere in Bethlehem, and to give each child a shekel to spend at the town market.  The kids excitedly held their shiny coins, and as we entered the market, vendors began their sales pitches, “Ten shekels for this plump chicken.”

From the marketplace, the kids left with wooden tops, handmade necklaces and other goodies.  We moved on to find a place to stay, and soon realized there was no more room.  The man at the inn told us about the stable around back that maybe had a little room left, but to keep quiet, as a young woman had just given birth to a baby boy there earlier that night.  As we rounded the corner, a trio of village worshippers sang greetings to us.  And there, in the back of that humble shanty, a young mother held the Savior in her arms, gently rocking him as her husband looked lovingly on.  A donkey stood just feet from them, calmly chewing.  Tears came to my eyes as this experience came to a close, and I realized that we had lived just a moment in the real experience of Jesus’ first night here on earth.

Did you and your family experience this incredible journey this past weekend?  If so, I would love to hear what you thought of it.  I highly recommend catching the production with your family next year, it was a wonderful, eye-opening experience.