two camels + 800 volunteers + 40,000 home-made cookies = Journey to Bethlehem
sure, it felt like i was at an amusement park with the zig-zagging lines leading us to the beginning of our journey and, yes, our friend, Ryan, wondered if the hot cocoa and cookies at the end would instill in young, impressionable minds an association between Jesus and cookies but this was still an impressive re-enactment of the Christmas story. first, we received our "traveling papers" that Roman centurions with impressive spears and helmets examined before we could pass to the next stop. my traveling paper gave me the name "Rebecca" or "Rivkah" in Hebrew. Our rather large "family" (28 kids and adults from our house church) quickly learned to say we were, "from the family of Asher" when quizzed by the imposing centurions. along the way, we met wise men with their gold, frankincense, myrrh, and two camels. we met the shepherds and witnessed the angels greet them to announce the birth of Jesus. while seeking a place to stay in Bethlehem, we came across the stable housing the holy family where we heard the gospel message. we got a rude awakening as we passed by the tax collector's table who attempted to swindle extra taxes from our large family and our next stop, the marketplace, was awash with Israelis trying to sell their wares to cold, weary travelers. after our 45 minute journey, we were greeted (rewarded?) with cocoa and cookies. with 40,000 home-made cookies, we had a very good selection.