Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Night in Bethlehem

    It seems unbelievable that we have been in Hendersonville a year now!  
    We officially moved in on January 1st 2015.  We have a year behind us now!  My husband finished school for this quarter last week.  It's crazy!  An entire year of bible college, a year of serving and learning about the ministry.  It has absolutely flown by, and we have learned and changed so much this year.  I can't even begin to imagine where we will be this time next year.
   Since April we have been serving at French Broad Baptist Church.  My husband has been the intern youth minister this year, and it has been a blessing.  I can't tell you how much we have learned from this experience, and I'm thankful and blessed to have had it.  We were also lucky enough to be serving this year as it was the year that the church did their Night in Bethlehem presentation that they only do every other year.  

The entire church is transformed immaculately into the town of Bethlehem.  Upon entering, guests are greeted by our Associate pastor, clothed in shepherds clothing and told the story of the prophesies that we have heard.  Can they be true?  Is there a baby?  Has the Messiah came?  They are told to register at the census, follow the star, and find out for themselves!

After registering their household, by decree of Cesar, the visitors visit the streets of Bethlehem.  All of the church members are clothed in robes and hair pieces.  They all speak of the tales they have been told.  Children roam the hall and proclaim "Have you heard!  Have you seen the star?!  The baby!  They say the baby is born tonight!"  The townspeople greet with "Shalom", and ask if they have seen the star.  The village is buzzing with townspeople, and visitors can enter each classroom to visit a shop, where they will be immersed in the culture of Bethlehem.  

All of the church members are in character, and all are teaching.  The children gather items such as dreidles, jewelry, clay pots and snacks from the shops as they journey.  Roman soldiers march through the hallways and into the shops, demanding taxes.  Hudson told me once, as he worked one evening in the pottery shop that the Roman soldiers were so mean, that his "Mom" and "Dad" (the shopkeepers) were almost broke after the soldiers took all of their money!  The entire church, from the members who are working and clothed, to the visitors who are walking the hallways, are overtaken by this amazing scene, and you feel like you truthfully are in Bethlehem this night.

In the hallway you will also encounter poor beggars and leppers, people who are unclean.

You pass a doorway to an Inn, where it is posted that there is no room...
Then at the end of the hall, behold...  an angel....

Traveling out the doorway and into the chill of the evening..  you arrive at a manger...  a stable surrounded by shepheards and sheep..  and in the manger, lies a baby...

This whole experience was breathtaking and beautiful...  I am so thankful to have been a part of this ministry in this time, and for my children to have these memories for time to come, of a Night in Bethlehem...

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