Traveling Back in Time for the Meaning of Christmas

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Every detail was considered in the planning and building of the old little town of Bethlehem.

Five years ago, members of the Christ United Methodist Church wanted a way for families to not just remember the reason for the Christmas season, but to experience it.

They decided a trip back in time was the best way for that to happen and came up with a "Walk thru Bethlehem".

Wendy Kay is the chairperson for event, and says church members went above and beyond to bring authenticity to their biblical reproduction.

"Anything we could do to really create Bethlehem as it would have been over 2,000 years ago, we did," Kay said.

Goats, sheep and even a camel walk through the town. Roman soldiers can also be found patrolling the grounds.

First-time visitor Grant Stephan says everything he saw reminded him of the stories he had read about Bethlehem.

"This is a great recreation of what the world was like when Jesus was born," Stepan said.

Saturday was Rebecca Bardenhagen and her families' first walk through the historic birthplace.

"It's really kind of what I would imagined of what I've read in books, from the live animals, the food, and the people dressed in costumes," Bardenhagen said.

Organizers say hours of research on Bethlehem at the time of Jesus Christ's birth went into creating a first hand experience for visitors.

"You can sample cheese from the dairy," Kay said. "You can go to the tailor and have a head piece made, ride a donkey. There are lots of different ways to interact."

Kay says it shows the world that Christ was born into and the visuals allow visitors to see past the commercialism of Christmas.

"It's a very meaningful way to approach the Christmas season and remember what Christmas," Kay said.

Stoney Pryor and his family visited the previous year the event was held. Pryor says it is a prefect way celebrate the season at hand.

"You can smell it," Pryor said. "You can see it. You can participate in it. It's a great way to rejoice in the birth."

Sunday is the last day to "Walk thru Bethlehem". The town's gates open at 12:30 p.m. and they are scheduled to close at 3:30 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults but kids are free.

Christ United Methodist Church is located at 4203 State Highway 6. For more information, call (979) 690-4673.