First Church of Coral Springs, invites you to step back in time to Bethlehem Revisited, a living interactive re-creation of the town of Bethlehem as it may have appeared 2,000 years ago. The annual event, which is now in its 25th year, features a walled city utilizing more than 30,500 square feet of lumber. It includes an authentic marketplace where shop owners are eager to show their wares and demonstrate how they are made. Visitors will also find shepherds, Roman soldiers, storytellers and a living Nativity.
Bethlehem Revisited begins Friday, December 8th, and will close on Tuesday, December 12th, with entry into the city from 7 – 9 p.m. on Friday, 6 – 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and 7 – 9 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday.
Senior Pastor Vance Rains, said, “We are excited to celebrate the “silver” anniversary of Bethlehem Revisited, and honored to share this special gift with our community for the 25th year. We hope that everyone who attends – young and old – experiences the wonder of God’s love and the miracle of Christ’s birth, and leaves with full and joyful hearts!”
Event Coordinator Janet Brockway, affectionately called “The Mayor of Bethlehem,” said they have made a number of new improvements guests won’t want to miss this year, including all new costumes for the Roman soldiers, angel wings with real feathers and several new shops.
“We’ve brought in weighted looms from the first century and will be making flax linens to show people what it was like to weave back then as authentically as possible,” said Brockway. There are over 18 shops, including a candle shop, tent shop, blacksmith, music shop with shofars, carpentry, leather working, perfumery, herbal healing and swaddling, pottery, olive press, bakery fresh market and more.
Bethlehem Revisited starts in a plaza that resembles a giant Christmas block party, then proceeds through a 15-minute loop that begins at the gates of Bethlehem and steps visitors back into the first century. Guests will be asked to sign the census and will overhear the women at the well talking about the child who was born, inviting them to see him resting among the livestock.
“It puts you in that mindset and by the time you get to that door, you look in and you see Jesus,” said Brockway.
The visit culminates in the sanctuary where visitors will experience live musical performances by area high schools, playing songs they prepared for Disney Candlelight, and traditional Celtic music performed on the dalicmer by Marcille Wallis, who performs around the world. A brief monologue drama closes the night discussing the reason we celebrate Christmas that has nothing to do with Santa Clause.
More than 340 volunteers contribute to the event each year doing everything from building the set to sewing costumes, feeding the cast and directing traffic. “Our family has participate for 23 years,” said Brockway. “The kids have grown up in Bethlehem as shepherds and angels or shop keepers…. It’s a great way to push away the tinsel, presents, lights and Santa to say this is what Christmas is really all about – Jesus.
Come and join the thousands of people who experienced Bethlehem Revisited last year. Appropriate for all ages, admission is free. First Church is located at 8650 W Sample Road, Coral Springs (half a mile east of University Drive). For more information about Bethlehem Revisited, visit BethlehemRevisited.com.