Journey to Bethlehem brings first Christmas to life

ALMA – The Alma community along with three local churches, Hope Springs United, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian, and Alma Bible, combined resources to put on a well-attended live nativity experience, Journey to Bethlehem, on Dec. 15, 16 and 17. 

The interactive journey started in the Alma Community Centre, which was decorated to look like a bustling market complete with costumed merchants attempting to sell their wares to participants before they head out on their journey through Wallace Cumming Park. 

Guides with lanterns led groups of travelers on a 45-minute tour that simulates a multi-day journey to Bethlehem. Along the way, travelers heard “great news” shared with them by angels, talked with shepherds tending to real sheep and met wise men resting their camels. 

Roman soldiers stopped people to ask questions, and taxes were collected by King Harrod. Knocking on the doors of inns to find a room proved fruitless, so travelers followed a star to a stable where they met Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus and their donkeys.

The journey ended back at the hall with cookies and hot chocolate.

This is the second year for the event, with the first one in 2019 drawing close to 850 people over two nights. Organizers estimate that over 1,100 participants took the journey this year, and were pleased with the huge response.

Though donations to the Centre Wellington Food Bank were collected, organizers recognize that not everyone is able to contribute, and consider the event to be “our gift to you.”