It was uncharacteristically cold that night, so in preparation we bundled up good and warm. I told Ammon that if he turned and smiled at the camera, he would get candy. This is the gem that I got :)
After we bundled up we drove to Auburn city and waited our group's turn to go.
The first stop we made was to see King Herod. He asked us to spy for him and find out who this Messiah was that people were talking about.
Ammon kept asking why people were dressed the way they were. It was pretty hilarious. There were lots of little boy "why's" that night.
Our next stop took us to see three wisemen that had three gifts for the King.
They told us that we should talk to a couple named Zacharias and Elizabeth because they had a child in their old age and Zacharias was struck dumb by an angel that appeared to him. The wisemen said that the couple had news of the new King.
So journey to see them we did.
They told us of their newborn son, John, and of the rumors of a family in Bethlehem. We now had to travel into the city of Bethlehem.
I wish I could have taken pictures of the city. It was awesome. They had real animals like camels, horses, chickens, and more. They had booths set up with money-changers, food stands, jewelry, and every kind of stand that you can imagine would be there in Christ's time in the city of Bethlehem. They even had a huge gate with guards watching overhead in towers and guards we had to convince to let us in. It was SO life like and real. It really made you feel like you were journeying through Bethlehem. There were wedding celebrations and homeless people and it was amazing. It was too dark and I didn't want to disturb the feeling with a flash, so I didn't take any pictures....except for the back of a camel.
Everything was going well until we were accosted by some Roman soilders that were angry because we hadn't paid taxes. We were yelled at and forced to line up against a wall before some prominent judge who yelled at us some more.
They did a great job of making it real and sure raked us over the coals. It actually really scared Lydia and Ammon. For the rest of the week Ammon talked about "those mean king guys" and he started whimpering during the action and said, "I want to go back to the house."
Luckily, we escaped to the outskirts of town where we ran into some shepherds and had angels suddenly appear singing about the birth of a Savior. I couldn't get a picture because of the darkness again, but it was awesome. It felt so real when they appeared and it was hard not to get emotional hearing their message and knowing what it meant.
After the angels appeared we raced to the large star in the sky and underneath it was baby Jesus.
The baby was a real newborn and I did get emotional here. It has hard not to. The whole event was set up so that I felt that I had traveled through Bethlehem, that I had experienced all the things that I read about in the scriptures and go over every Christmas season, and then ended with seeing the baby Jesus. It felt so real and put the eternities into perspective. We sang Come Let Us Adore Him and it was very special. It took everything I had not to sob uncontrollably.
After the culmination of the journey we were finally able to go inside and warm up with cider and cookies. I was so impressed. So many people working together to create this journey and atmosphere that preaches of Christ and His birth. Though some of their facts were different than the ones I know, the Spirit was the same and I rejoice in my Savior's birth and look forward to Dec. 25th to celebrate that marvelous day!