We made a journey to Bethlehem
As travelers to that ancient city, we arrived to a noise, smokey, crowded city with all kinds of people coming and going everywhere.
We stopped and shopped in a jewelers shop, who wouldn't take our money, since we only had something she never heard of: dollars. She wanted shekels, gold, denarius or even sheep to trade.
We watched people selling their wares and craftsmen, wool weavers, potters, basket weavers, leather workers, and blacksmiths at their trades.
We stopped to watch the census takers and tax collectors deal with the newly arrived citizens and even witnessed a few poor shepherds who didn't have the funds for their taxes be hauled off by the Roman centurions to jail and the stocks.
We visited them in their jail cells.
My favorite stop was the synagogue. A father was teaching his son from the torah, we listened as they discussed ancient stories. He welcomed everyone in to worship. They occasionally stepped outside to blow the rams horns to invite more people in or to reenact the sounds from the story of the wall falling down from the Old Testament.
All evening we witnessed shepherds coming into Bethlehem shouting at the well that the Messiah had been born, but they were quickly silenced and ushered away by the soldiers to keep peace. Waves of excitement and whispers went through the crowd about a newborn babe in a manger. People every where told us to look for the star to guide us.
We found him!
Well, we found this very sweet couple snuggling and loving their newborn baby with a shepherd standing watch at the front of the cave.
What a beautiful radiant glow from inside reflecting the peace filled cave just outside the chaotic city.
It was very well done, and we all committed to visit again next year.
Some of the Bethlehem citizens we visited with would ask us about our journey, and our sweet children would tell them of how far we came from Houston or Austin, and they looked confused and would ask each other if that was near Judea.
(oh, yeah, we'd forget where we were for a moment).
It was all done very well, with much enthusiasm. The citizen volunteers stayed in character the whole time.
When Lilly would introduce herself, as she always does, we met many named Rachel, Mary and Ruth,
more than in an average sampling of that many people.
I was able to bring my mother and meet up with my three sisters, and about half of our kids. It was a foggy, cool night, with the delightful people of Burnet welcoming us and sharing their love for Christ. The way out of the ancient city had walls lined with biblical quotes which illustrated the Way to heaven, through the Son. They treated us to hot chocolate and cookies at the end of our stay in Bethlehem.
Now to have fun with one of the centurions...
Was he starting to get annoyed with rambunctious foreigners...?
So he decided to take my mom off to the stocks, unfortunately my camera malfunctioned, and I didn't capture the hilarious moment.
It was all in good fun, she is a good sport and, of course, he was just pretending.
Here, she and Lilly opted for a (horseless) chariot ride back to town.