Bethlehem marketplace c. 3 AD for kids and adults (December 2008)

This is our church‘s second year creating an impression of what Bethlehem’s marketplace might have been like about the time Jesus Christ lived. It’s a little hard to describe but our visitors have enjoyed it enthusiastically. It’s not a living nativity, it’s more like a participatory historical drama, mainly geared towards kids 3-11 but enjoyed by adults as well. I’m not really sure how I came up with this idea but it evolved out of some conversations with my friend Jan and a great deal of searching the internet. Teens and adult members help decorate the auditorium and serve as different characters. When you enter the building you are greeted by wise men who hand out maps to the market. You then go visit whatever shops pique your interest. All the shopkeepers are dressed in the historically suggestive costumes we use for our Children’s Workshop (aka VBS). The kids get to make bread, shape pottery, work with wood, hear stories, visit the spice merchant, and sample flatbread and unusual fruits and nuts. While it’s a rather large undertaking for our small congregation we’ve found it to be a fun and educational experience and we hope to continue building and sharing it with our friends every year. Did you know that “Bethlehem” means “house of bread”?