Last night was our Night In Bethlehem activity at church. It went a bit better than I expected, but the turnout was a bit lower than normal.
This is me and TJ dressed up..
That was my favorite part! When we got there we met in the chapel and learned what was going to happen during the activity and watched a video. Then we went outside and passed Mary and Joseph and a (real) donkey. Then we went in to the census table to give our name, lineage, how many in our family and we recieved 3 shekels(washers) each. Then we went into Bethlehem(the cultural hall/gym). There were 4 stations. The first was meat and bread and that cost one shekel. Then there was one with fruits and vegetables (also one shekel). Then there were desserts (for a shekel). There was also a trinket table where you could spend your shekels instead of on food. I bought a little battery operated candle for one shekel and TJ and I shared dessert.
While we ate Mary and Joseph came to the inn, but there was no room so they were shown to the manger. Then, after a few minutes they turned off the lights and shown a spotlight on the manger where Jesus had been born and there was a Christmas star and we all sang Silent Night. We closed with a prayer. Then you could go back and get more food and the kids got a free trinket(battery candle, beads or bells).
We did okay sitting on the ground, probably because it was short and we had pillows. My legs did not fall asleep but my right leg and hip were hurting after awhile.
I did miss hearing Bishop read the Christmas story from the Bible.
In church today the talks were about gifts. Not the kinds of gifts that you find under the tree but spiritual gifts. Heavenly Father's gift to us was that of Divine Love. Gifts we can give to Heavenly Father and Jesus are service, a repentant heart and time (to go to church, prayer, read scriptures). The first speaker also told a really awesome story about a Jewish woman who was just released from a concentration camp and trying to get home to Krakow, Poland. She was helped by a young seminarian (not yet a priest), but feared he would take her to a convent so she fled, but wrote his name in a diary. Many years later she was reading a paper in Israel where she now lived and saw his name and that he had become the Pope. I beleive it was Pope John Paul.
I would love to hear your thoughts on spiritual gifts.