‘Come to Bethlehem…..’
The City of Bethlehem comes alive, complete with camels and children’s crafts, each December with a re-creation of the times of Jesus’ birth. This re-enactment occurs on the grounds of Holy Trinity Primary School, Bardia Street, Ashmont. The event is of interest and enjoyment to all families and individuals. Families can browse through the various scenes depicted with interesting dioramas but know that the noise of a busy city with its colour, smells and atmosphere can’t be captured on a web page! There are live animals to delight the children and the not so young.
Come to Bethlehem has attracted over 33,000 patrons since its inception at Christmas 2003. It is one of those delightful achievements which began when the Confraternity of Christ the Priest assumed the pastoral care of the West Wagga Wagga Parish. Volunteers from the parish, school and other enthusiasts gather each year to spend several days constructing the fascinating spectacle.
The Come to Bethlehem exhibition reconstructs the ancient surrounds of Bethlehem. Visitors before passing through the City Gates must complete the Roman census and then pay the golden tax to the taxman watched over by the Roman Guards. The various scenes depicted among its many displays are a synagogue, a carpenter’s shop, a pottery shop, and a mill, and on the outskirts of the city is a small baby lying in a manger.
Now in its fifteenth year, the event is a unique celebration of Christmas in Wagga Wagga that focuses on that time long ago, when a small baby was born. Come to Bethlehem is aimed at keeping the rustic baby Christ in the modern Christmas festivities. People can wander through and be steeped in the culture and feelings of Biblical times. There are realistic city scenes with characters in period costume and live animals to delight the children. Over fifty people dressed in costumes will take part in the display, participating in the various scenes, they recreate the atmosphere of the bustling marketplace of a time long ago.
The display is designed to appeal to families and as such many of the scenes are interactive. The young, the not so young but the young at heart are invited to try their hand at activities including cane basket weaving, mosaics, and writing in Hebrew.
After walking through the City of Bethlehem, visitors are invited to step into the school hall to see a display of the history of various Christmas symbols including the Christmas tree, mince pies and nativity displays. The city of Bethlehem is entirely pram, wheelchair and walker friendly for the elderly.
All Wagga Wagga and district residents are invited to attend the display and will be most welcome. Come to Bethlehem can be included when out and about looking at the Christmas lights. Come to Bethlehem operates on the consecutive evenings of December 22, 23 and 24. It is open to all from 8.00pm to 9.30pm. Admission is $2 for adults and children are free. Come to Bethlehem and see the wonders of an astonishing historical event, the birth of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the World.
Here’s a great video on the history of “Come to Bethlehem”