There will be pilgrims coming from the East to see the Christ Child at Bethlehem A.D. but most of them will not be Kings and chances are they will travel by plane, not camel or donkey. The East in this case is the East Coast plus the Mid West and South as well.
Each year several visitors plan their holiday vacations just to attend Bethlehem A.D. For many Bethlehem A.D. is as much as a family tradition as the Christmas trees and turkey dinners. The largest living nativity opens Saturday, December 21 and runs through Monday, December 23 from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Anyone not able to make it to 1305 Middlefield Road in Redwood City to experience the Bethlehem A.D. first hand, live streaming is available each night from 6 p.m. to closing, PST. This view of 1st Century Bethlehem is made possible by 21st Century technology and volunteer Mark Strathdee.
The live broadcast began in 2012 when torrential rains kept San Francisco Bay Area pilgrims away from the village of Bethlehem but not their computers. Still, some visitors decided to brave the storm and come after watching for just a few minutes.
The live broadcast also proved to be a popular alternative for holiday background music and sound.
Whether watched online or experienced in person, this is the Bethlehem that no one will want to miss, according to Paula Paulin Dresden, Creative Director.
“A lot of pieces have been falling into place. We’ve seen many miracles from God. This just might be the quintessential year for Bethlehem A.D.,” she said.
Bethlehem A.D. can boast a cast over 500 volunteers, including almost 100 children, that make up all the characters associated with the little town of Bethlehem on that first Christmas night. There are shepherds, market place workers and villagers crowding the streets waiting to be counted for the census. The beloved rabbis are discussing the scripture while giving sage advice to their students.
The dreaded centurions are enforcing Roman law while sometimes helping to direct downtown Redwood City traffic. King Herod rides his chariot through the streets looking for the Christ Child as he declares that only he is king.
Angels celebrate and proclaim the birth of the Messiah while protecting the Holy Family huddled in the stable. Wise Men and Women who bear a strong resemblance to civic and political leaders come to Bethlehem with their gifts. There are over 85 animals including camels, horses, llamas, Brahma bulls and a host of chickens and ducks.
Music fills the air and a sense of joy and anticipation permeates the entire city block, as well as a deep sense of community uniting people of diverse cultural, religious, and economic backgrounds.
After leaving Bethlehem, visitors receive a Certificate of Pilgrimage and can choose to cross the street to Tapestry Church where free hot coffee, cider, and homemade doughnuts are served on the festively lit patio. The church sanctuary is warm and inviting, allowing for personal reflection about the experience, with a live video feed of the manger and village. Traditional Christmas carols are sung between times of prayer and reflection.
Admission to Bethlehem A.D is free and refreshemens are served without charge.
For more information about Bethlehem A.D. and the live broacast, call 650. 386.3821 extension 1302 or visit www.bethlehemad.com.