I didn't take a single picture, but what I thought was going to be a pretty low key adventure turned out to be a blog worthy circus. A local church has put on the interactive drama "A Walk Through Bethlehem" for probably at least 8 years. We pass this church on the way to my parent's house. We watch them start setting up the outdoor Bethlehem town in October and it takes until Feb/March for them to tear it all down. It is elaborate! We have also driven past while the tours were happening and there have always been long lines...year after year. This year I decided that my children were old enough to handle the line and that this would be a fun thing to experience.
Last night was the night Janell and I decided to go. It opened at 6:00 and we arrived at 6:30. We got in line. It wasn't too cold, but it was chilly. Isaiah was doing somersaults in the grass. Some of the others were complaining from the get go. Renee and Anna were *loudly* practicing their tap dance. After an hour we got to the door of the church.
Once in the church we were seated in the sanctuary where groups of approximately 20 were dismissed at a time to go on the guided tour of Bethlehem. Nine groups were seated in the sanctuary. There were music videos playing which was nice until there was a song where the graphics vividedly depicted Jesus's death. Aliza and Josiah tried to be brave and they were for a while. I took a group to the bathroom and when I got back Aliza and Josiah were crying. By this time we had been waiting for another hour--and there were still 5 groups to be dismissed ahead of us. We figured it was at least another half hour wait.
So 2 kids in tears and scared. One 3 year old past his bedtime and getting crazy. I looked at Janell kindof desperately. We took bets on how mad our husbands would be if we bailed after waiting for 2 hours. She was closer to the men than I was, but she didn't have to say much before they stood up--and we walked out. Renee and Anna were the only disappointed ones because they had each other and paper and pencils.
I was completely expecting to leave, but it happened that Janell knew the first usher and Jeremy and I knew the next usher. Those ladies asked us (or told us, I'm not sure how it happened) to join the next group. As we stood there Aliza and Josiah's hysteria got even worse because they found out that Roman guards were going to be part of drama in Bethlehem. Aliza was a mess. Janell took such great care of her. Sometime Mommy's just run out of emotional energy! (Thank goodness for Aunts!)
And then we entered Bethlehem. If we didn't have the insane wait and crazy kids, the experience would have been amazing. It was almost a living museum and as we walked through Bethlehem the Christmas story unfolded through action and conversation. It was a 30 minute interactive drama and once the children settled in they really enjoyed it. I think all the children said that if they didn't have to see the videos in the sanctuary they would want to go again next year. I would be so curious to know how many people return year after year or if most people are going for the first time.
At this moment I think I've crossed that off my bucket list. I guess we'll see if the memory gets better with time by next year!