Ever wondered what it would have been like to take a stroll through Bethlehem on the night baby Jesus was born?
Maybe you'd hear archangels singing, or the steady beat of the little drummer boy, or perhaps you'd even see a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger in a cold dark stable.
On Dec. 18 the Cathedral of Joy will give the community a visual interpretation of that long ago time at its annual Living Nativity production.
The event features outdoor and indoor performances that reenact the biblical events.
About 150 people will portray a plethora of characters including Mary and Joseph, shephards watching over their flock, the little drummer boy, Roman soldiers on horseback, angels on high and the three wise men who followed the bright star from afar to pay homage to the newborn king.
Real animals also are used in the event, which has been tradition at the church for more than 40 years. There will be lambs, camels, donkeys and other livestock at the stable sneaking a peek at the famous baby.
"What started as a few families dressed up in bathrobes around a manger has evolved into a full 30-minute indoor stage play, followed by an outdoor portrayal of the living nativity," said Kendall Kaiser, director of connectional ministries at Cathedral of Joy. "We are blessed to have professional pro rodeo riders as our Roman soldiers."
The church also brought in a vet to keep watch over all the animals, which includes three camels brought in from Exotic Farms outside of Spokane, he added.
The live stage play has been enhanced this year and elaborates on the story of how the grace and forgiveness of God is as effective today as it was 2,000 years ago, he added.
Following the play, visitors can take a stroll through the Living Nativity.
The Living Nativity will have two to three performances each day at 6 and 7:15 p.m. Dec. 17-19, 21 and at 6, 7:15 and 8:30 p.m. Dec. 22-23. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for kids 5-12 and ages 4 and younger are free. Tickets at Ranch and Home store in Kennewick and Richland and Kennewick Albertson's stores, or at http://cojchurch.org
"My hope is that everyone who sees the Living Nativity performance this year will walk away knowing that God loves them," Kaiser said. "And that there is hope, no matter what their circumstance."
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org