Commonwealth Journal

Local News

December 9, 2011

Journey to Bethlehem begins tonight

Somerset —  

A community Christmas tradition is upon us again. 
Starting tonight, Pleasant Hill Baptist Church will be presenting “Journey to Bethlehem,” a free drive-through experience that details the events of the night Jesus was born — and the events of the city of Bethlehem that went on around it. 
“We want families to really be able to look into what Christmas is about,” said Paul Hines, pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, which is located on Old Clifty Road north of Somerset. 
Paul came to Pleasant Hill in July 2010, so this will be his second time experiencing the event, but he already understand the meaning “Journey to Bethlehem” has taken with the community. 
Hines said a woman who’d gone through “Journey to Bethlehem” last year told volunteers that the event gave her an opportunity to talk to her granddaughter about Christmas and the meaning behind it.
“Tears were coming down her face,” Hines said. “She told us that this gave her the opportunity to go home with her granddaughter and talk to her about Christmas and what it means.”
The event, which requires around 200 volunteers to pull off, is nearing the 20-year mark, as it began in 1994. 
“Journey to Bethlehem” requires plenty of preparation. The hundreds of volunteers, mostly made up of church attendees and their friends and family, work to present an image of Bethlehem — including every facet of the bustling city — on the night that Jesus was born. 
“This is what we would perceive to be going on the night Christ was born in the city of Bethlehem,” Hines said. 
“Journey to Bethlehem” depicts a town setting crafted for historical accuracy from around the time of Jesus’ birth. Set pieces have typically included a marketplace, a broom shop, a tax collector, a produce shop, an oil and saddle shop, a blacksmith shop, leather shop, wise men going before King Herod, an angel appearing to Joseph, an angel that appears to Mary, live animals and more. 

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