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“Bethlehem” event: San Jose 2022

Every December our family goes to a free church-held event called “Bethlehem” that runs for four evenings. A few years ago a friend from church texted me the information and we’ve been going ever since. Well, the first time going there was a walk-thru and then the Covid pandemic put the event on hiatus. The church got creative and turned it into a drive-thru the past two years where you tune into a radio channel and hear the story at different stopping points to props.

first time at this event 2018

This year I was surprised to learn that it’s a walk-thru event again. They go all out with live animals, dancing, campfires, costumed characters, recreation of the bustling scene of Bethlehem when the census was taken at the time of Jesus’ birth, manger scene, and the shepherds and The Three Wise Men coming with gifts and worship. One of the wise men showed up on a real camel. The most memorable part was seeing the Roman soldiers who were grumpily stern, occasionally loud, and created an authoritarian ambiance that they were not going to be your best friends but only there to keep order.

Kids had various activities to enjoy as well: fishing with nets at a metal pool, wine crushing, writing their name in Hebrew, tasting breads, choosing rose or lavender oil in sachets, and hammering nails into boards. Ellis took a bread and put it in her mouth; then she quickly whispered to me that she wanted to spit it out. With no trash cans nearby, I put the wet glob in my pocket until I found a garbage can. Don’t worry I didn’t spread germs…I didn’t touch anything until I went to the washroom to wash my hands with soap. ๐Ÿ™‚

The whole performance was beautifully executed and seeing everyone in character got us into the mood of it all. The weather was uncooperative and rained intermittently with muddy and sandy grounds. While Joseph was leading the donkey with Mary sitting on it, the donkey accidentally stepped on Joseph’s bare foot. Ouch! We heard a muffled “oooffff” and saw staff running to Joseph’s aid. But what professionalism and a trooper he was…the show kept going and we didn’t see him grimace. That must’ve been painful.

I don’t know any of those people personally but thank you for all the time, energy, sacrifices, and resources that went into making this event possible; so many have been blessed through it, including the Suhs. Thank you!

And a bonus to this event was seeing our bible study friend there with her kids!

food vendor scene
Selfie with stoic Roman soldier. Same soldier from few years ago.
Bread vendor scene
Scene of baby Jesus in the manger. This baby was a fantastic actor with some light crying but quickly consoled. Kiddos thought it was a doll but the constant leg kicks and arm waves convinced them otherwise Amazed how the baby was so calm with all the loud noises and lights. A star in the making!

Categories: Random Thoughts


Welcome to my blog! My name is Esther and I'm so happy you are here. I'm an avid nature photographer and a daydreaming thinker. My posts revolve around photos of nature's beauty, homeschooling adventures with my 2 kids, sporadic reflections on my child's heart condition, Bible reading reflections, gardening feats, and other mish mash things. Hopefully you'll leave encouraged, pensive, or smiling at the simple things of life. Thank you for stopping by and hope you'll find some interesting posts to read!

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