I had no idea how popular this particular program is! We thought it was a little odd that the directions said to go to a particular middle school to pick up our "pass" to get in to see the Nativity, but when we got to the school we realized why. The school parking lot was a maze of cars lined up two abreast waiting to make the short drive down the street and around the corner to the church. Ah-ha! This was how they kept the line from backing up on the highway. It was a much bigger production than I had imagined.
I would be interested to know how many cars were lined up. I would estimate several hundred, at least. It was a big parking lot and at one time while we waited it was completely full. The program was to run from 6:00 to 8:00. We got in line at 6:25. An hour later we got to the man (dressed as a Roman soldier) who was handing out glow rings to hang from our rearview mirror. That was our "pass". During the next half hour we were offered candy canes and served hot cocoa while we continued to wait in line. At 8:00 we were finally at the front of the line to drive over to the church.
When we got there, we realized that our wait was not over yet. The cars were backed up down a service road! Just before we got to the entrance we were given an audio CD to listen to as we made our way through six different scenes.
The whole thing was very well organized, and very moving. I thought it was worth the two-hour wait! (But I have to admit I'm glad we have XM satellite radio in the car! We enjoyed several Christmas OTR programs while we waited.) The unfortunate thing was that the battery died on my camera, so I ended up with not-so-great cell phone pics.
First, we passed the shepherds "abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them... and suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God.."
Every time the
My picture of the wise men with their camels didn't turn out at all. The CD said that since it was some 2 years later when the wise men arrived in Bethlehem, they portrayed them on their journey, following the star. We wondered where they found live camels in eastern Washington in December!
The last scene was the cross. It was simply spotlighted with a lamb tied to the bottom of it, to remind us of the Lamb of God. Greater still than the humble circumstances of His birth was His willingness to die in such a brutal way... for us.
I think our family has discovered a new Christmas tradition...