A church in Santa Clara does the neatest thing at Christmastime. They take the parking lot of their church & completely transform it into Bethlehem. . . seriously. They bring in tons of sand, build buildings, bring in camels & donkeys, the works. It's SO amazing. And it's completely free.
We went with a big group from our church congregation to see it. Out front is a shepherd hill where the shepherds are tending their sheep.
An angel appears (high in the sky) & sings of Christ's birth in Bethlehem.
Then the shepherds run to see the Christ child.
Inside the "city" there are Roman guards, shops, shopkeepers, animals . . . it's just amazing. You can go to each of the "shops" & try pressing grapes, fish, make perfume, build a wall, etc. Mary & Joseph come into the city on a donkey looking for a room & they get turned away from all the inns & wind up in a stable where Mary sings to her newborn child. Soon the shepherds join them.
My kids' favorite part is the wise men. They come in lead by a flame swallower & a sword juggler. They are riding camels & are being carried by servants. It's really spectacular.
And the music they all sing at the manger reminds you the reason of the season. It's a beautiful reminder of why we celebrate Christmas.
I'm grateful to everyone who works so hard to make this such a neat event for families every year.