Bethlehem has come alive again.
First Church Coral Springs is offering the community Bethlehem Revisited. Members and volunteers with the church have worked to recreate Bethlehem as it was on the day Jesus was born. There are 17 shops that show basic items that people used 2,000 years ago. There are tough Roman soldiers who show how the occupying Romans treated the people of ancient Israel. There are live animals and the holy family including Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus. When you walk in, you are told a census as being conducted. And then you can see how life really was in the ancient middle east.
“This is a great tradition, one that has taken place for 24 years,” said Vance Raines, pastor of First Church Coral Springs. “It is led by members of the congregation. I love seeing members of the church engaging with the community.”
Steve Rivera played a Roman soldier. “We act miserable like the Roman soldiers did. They were sent to an outpost, ancient Israel and they were not paid well. I really enjoy Bethlehem Revisited. It is a great outreach to the community,” he said.
Aimee Harrison played a Yenta. She welcomes the crown to Bethlehem. “I love being able to see some many people come in. It is an awesome experience,” she said.
Mike Sanseverino played the role of bread maker. “This is pretty cool. We are showing people what life was like when Jesus was born. This attracts a lot of people,” he said.
Patrick McCarthy played a Roman solider. “I have been doing this for four years. I like being a part of this event,” he said.
Carissa Staszeski played an angel. “I love seeing all the people coming to Bethlehem Revisited,” she said.
Nicholas Cafaro played the role of a gatekeeper. He also enjoys being a part of the presentation. “It is very realistic,” he said.
Members begin work on Bethlehem Revisited in October. Extensive research has been done on what Bethlehem and other middle eastern cities were like about 2,000 years ago. There is a bread shop, honey shop and a place where papyrus is made. People can see what it was like to live in ancient Bethlehem. The characters dress in ancient middle eastern clothing and remain in character during the night. The presentation is free to the public. It is very well attended. On the first night, 1,742 attended. About 350 people have volunteered for the project. Before the presentations, the participants share a meal together. There is a strong sense of camaraderie among the community that works together to present Bethlehem Revisited.