Revisiting Bethlehem is a local Christmas tradition that started nine years ago when Becky Moore had a Bethlehem revisited experience at a church in the Lower 48. Returning to her home church, College Heights Baptist Church, she shared with her pastor, and soon the whole congregation was involved with making Bethlehem Revisited happen in Alaska.
After the first two years it became such a large production they decided to do it every other year. This was the other year and the expanded four day run made a Christmas memory for the thousands that visited Dec. 15-18.
Starting the church parking lot, Bethlehem, visitors registered as in the days of old for the census so they could be taxed. Inside the College Heights sanctuary visitors were able to experience the whole life of the baby born in Bethlehem.
The last time Bethlehem Revisited was erected, Aud Walaszek, Heritage Place activities coordinator, thought it would be special if the residents of Heritage Place could experience Bethlehem Revisited even though they were unable to get to Bethlehem. So she contacted Becky Moore and indeed Bethlehem, animals and all came to Heritage Place. It proved to be such a great success and so appreciated by the residents that when it came time for another Bethlehem Revisited, Walaszek contacted Connie Combs at College Heights and she deployed the entire cast on the morning of Dec. 16 to bring the story of baby born in a manger to Heritage Place.
“When you have this many people our town square was overflowing and it was an extra effort to get everyone out here, but it just shows you how much having the cast here was for all of us. This is a good message for Heritage Place and we’re very grateful to have this Bethlehem experience in the comfort of our own living room. Like one of our residents said ‘God has his finger on this place.”
It was worth the effort said Combs.
“When you see the smiles on the faces here, we had a lot of help from two awesome young men, my son Sam Combs and his friend took care of the animals and transported the hay for us and the goats and the manger and the sound system and we couldn’t have done it without the young men that were willing to put out the hard labor to bring us all together and the cast that came with us went the extra mile because this cast has been putting out a lot of work getting up early after our opening last night to be here shows there commitment to honoring our seniors here at Heritage Place and I appreciate there help and yes if you can’t go to Bethlehem, Bethlehem will come to you,” said Combs.
Mary Nell is the president of the Heritage Place Resident Council who summed the morning up by saying, “It was beautiful! Thank you so much for coming and message you brought to all of us.”