This is the boy trying out the head of a donkey I made for a skit a few years ago for our church’s Children’s Workshop program. The skit was about Balaam’s donkey, which you can read about in the Bible (Numbers 22). It’s an interesting story, both amusing and powerful. The donkey head was constructed of plastic canvas, nubby fleece, felt, humonguous plastic eyelashes and some jute for the harness. I used a ball cap to get the shape of the head for the wearer and then made extensions from there to shape the horsey nose and ears. I sewed and glued the fleece onto the plastic canvas base. I left eyeholes in the fleece which had black canvas behind them so the wearer could see out but you can’t really see the human eyes underneath. You’ll probably laugh when I tell you that my husband played the part of the donkey wearing a grey sweatshirt and yarn tail along with the donkey head. But go read the story, the donkey has the last laugh!
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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”?