“Bethlehem” offers authentic, enjoyable alternative

Wed, 11/19/2008 - 9:54am
By: The Citizen

The holiday season is filled with lights, sounds and spectacles. Several years ago, one local church decided that what people needed most was authenticity— an opportunity to peel away modern noise and experience Bethlehem the way it was during Jesus’ time.

Since then, the Walk Through Bethlehem series at Fayetteville Christian Church has become one the region’s most popular events. More than 3400 people passed through the gates of Bethlehem last year, and the church has created a new Walk experience for 2008 that will delight visitors of every age.

Walk Through Bethlehem’s 2008 program features new drama and music, along with the hands-on village marketplace that is a children’s favorite. Shepherds, wise men, Roman centurions and innkeepers—all are featured with amazing realism as they re-create key scenes from Jesus’ birth. Guests are invited to stay as long as they like in the village, interacting with artisans and shopkeepers, and making traditional toys, jewelry, and pottery to take home as souvenirs. Visitors can also sample a variety of exotic, authentic foods.

Creating an historic oasis in the middle of suburbia isn’t easy: church members spend several months each year painstakingly crafting a real, working village that looks and feels as it would have two thousand years ago. The entire town is enclosed behind high wooden walls, allowing visitors to cast off modern interruptions and enter a world they could have only imagined.

“Our guests are always amazed when they enter Bethlehem,” says Senior Pastor Dan Roberts. “They can let go of all the hurry and worry of the holidays, and spend a little time breathing in the spirit of the times into which Jesus was born,”

“It’s moving, it’s exciting, and it’s a lot of fun! Roberts continues. “But the thing we see most is that people are leaving with a sense of peace. It’s as though they’ve taken a one- hour vacation back to the things that really matter.”

This year’s “Bethlehem” program will run from Dec. 4-7 during the following hours: Thursday, 6-8 pm; Friday 6-9 pm; Saturday 3-8 pm; and Sunday 1-6 pm. Fayetteville Christian Church is located at 114 Hickory Road in Fayetteville, at the corner of New Hope and Hickory. Everyone is welcome and admission is free. Thirty- minute guided tours leave every ten minutes. Call 770-461-8763 for more information.

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