Thousands Visit Bethlehem Through Conference Living Nativities

February 01, 2008 | David Riley

more than 3,000 visitors were treated to living nativity displays presented by the Idaho Conference's Eagle and La Grande churches.

Guests made their way through interactive Bethlehem villages complete with calling vendors, tax collectors, Roman soldiers, beggars and authentic barnyard sounds and smells. Both journeys highlighted the humble birth of Jesus. Visitors mingled with shepherds and were witnesses to the angelic announcement of the Savior's arrival.

Church and community members, as well as dozens of live animals were called into action. La Grande's nativity included more than 75 costumed actors. Jon Hanley, local artist and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, volunteered his time to create a unique Bethlehem replica. Visitors to the Eagle living nativity were treated to homemade bread, hummus and soup. They also enjoyed live music from a Christmas choir and the Gem State Adventist Academy hand bell choir.

Each nativity also featured plenty of warm drinks for Bethlehem travelers coming in out of the cold.