Frugal Friday--Christmas Experience, Free but PRICELESS

9:58 PMHeather

Yes, I know...frugal Friday...on Saturday.  I'm a bit behind because, you see, our family has the greatest privilege to be part of an amazing Christmas experience called Journey to Bethlehem.  For 5 nights, our church, Church at the Cross, offers a unique interactive experience of the real story of Christmas.  As you travel on a 45 minute walk with a "Jewish" family to Bethlehem for the census, you encounter Roman soldiers on horseback, shepherds and their sheep, the wise men, camels, the village of Bethlehem, and of course, the manger.  But, most importantly, you encounter the true meaning of this season...and from first hand experience as a former guest, it's a priceless experience!

Now, just imagine that greatness multiplied about a million times now that we get to participate.  Have you ever been part of something so much bigger than yourself that you just can't hardly believe it?  That is what this experience is for us.  It's something our children look forward to for months.  It's their favorite Christmas tradition.  Despite the late, late nights and sometimes, the cold, cold temperatures--they love it.  We all participate in the village--or I should say we all did until this year.  This year, our middle son decided to go out on his own to be a child in one of the "Jewish" guide families.  This is a bigger role, complete with lines, and he has been rehearsing since September.  So the rest of us remain in the village without him, performing as the blacksmiths, the rabbit lady, and as one of the sweet dancer girls who sing He is Jehovah to every group of guests who come through.

I just really can't quite articulate what JTB (Journey to Bethlehem) means to us.  But, I will try.  It means bending to a young child to let her pet the live rabbit, her eyes full of wonder.  And, when I ask about her journey, she can hardly utter her description of seeing an angel.  So, I ask her what the angel said.  And, she breathlessly looks at me wide eyed to say, "He said God will bless us real good."  It means my youngest climbing into bed, exhausted from a late JTB night, and whispering as she drifts into sleep that she now knows that Jesus came as a baby so that he could die on the cross for our sins.  It means my boys interacting with peers who are our guests, knowing that the Truth of Jesus is being clearly spoken before their friends will finish their journey.  It means foreign exchange students from closed countries will hear who Jesus is and why He came...and their eyes will be open to a story they've never heard, but which intrigues them.  It means being part of planting seeds to thousands from all over the world, literally.  It means knowing that as we don layers of clothes to keep warm and endure sore feet and throats from our parts--we know the ripples of harvest may spread further than we could ever imagine.  And, we, in our tiny little roles from our tiny place in the world somehow might be part of changing the eternity of untold people.  All the while, we never had to board a plane, sell all our worldly goods, or even travel more than 10 miles.

So, if you are worn thin from shopping and frazzled from all sorts of Christmas preparations... then know that there is perfect way to invest a couple of hours of your life to REALLY experience Christmas.  We run from 5:30 pm until 9 pm, now just two more nights.  If, of course, the Good Lord is willin' and the creek don't rise--and the weather cooperates.  Check here for more info and weather updates.  And the best part is that it's totally free!  But, be forewarned...it just might be the most priceless way you've celebrated the season!

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