Monday, December 15, 2008

Let's Do Christmas Like They Do It In Texas

In Burnet, Texas they remember the real reason for the season. Come on ya'll. Come with me to Main Street Bethlehem.

As you approach the walls of the city of Bethlehem, you notice families huddled around campfires cooking their evening meals and trying to stay warm. They have not been able to find room in the city, because it is so crowded. They've all come to be counted by Caesar Augustus and to pay their taxes.

Once inside the gates there is much to see. You will have to move slowly through the streets. They are filled with bustling crowds of people from the countryside. You can peek in the windows of the local tavern, have a sample of tasty hot Bethlehem bread, see the local citizens, Roman soldiers and more.

The shops and bazaars are open late into the night to accommodate visitors. People line up to pay the tax collector. To help him determine how much your tax will be he will ask you questions like, "how many children and animals do you have?" If you are poor and not able to give Caesar his portion of your livelihood a Roman soldier will come and take you to jail.

Once your taxes are taken care of, you can shop at the many stalls in the bazaar. Perhaps you need some fine camel thread or maybe a woven reed mat on which to place your lambswool rug for sleeping.

Maybe you would like to buy some fine jewelry made from Roman coins or perhaps a few freshly dipped candles would suit your needs tonight. The blacksmith is hard at work in the square. Do you need some new tools for farming? People push and jostle one another. A friendly woman explains that she is grinding meal as her mother and her mother's mother before her have done.

A family calls out to you from their home. They offer you a drink of water and a bit of cheese and bread. "Please join us stranger, you look tired and hungry." They are happy to share supper with you but their house is already overcrowded, you will have to keep looking for a place to sleep. All of the Inns are full tonight.

After you have spent a few moments of respite in the home of your kind new friends you wish them shalom and once again continue on your way still searching for a room to spend the night in. Along the way, you see camels, many goats and sheep as well as a Roman chariot.

You hear the shofar calling you to worship and slip into the synagogue to say a prayer asking God for His help in finding room in one of the local Inns.

As you come back out into the street you overhear a shepherd telling a shopkeeper that he has seen a host of angels telling of the birth of the Messiah. He has come to Bethlehem to see the baby they told him of.

You decide to go see for yourself. On the way you pass the local carpenter's shop.

It is then that you notice the star in the sky. It is big and even brighter than the moon tonight.

You walk around the corner, behind the Inn. It is here that you see more shepherds and then in a stable you see him. You see a swaddling babe, the Light of the World, Immanuel, God with us, the Prince of Peace.

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Luke 2: 10-12

As you leave Bethlehem, you are invited to have some hot chocolate and cookies.

My son and his family have made a visit to Bethlehem one of their Christmas traditions every year since they moved to Texas. They invited me out last week so that I could make the trip with them. If you are ever in the area, Main Street Bethlehem is not to be missed.


  1. A town near us does this, and it is wonderful...but it looks like Burnet puts a great deal more into this...

  2. Thank goodness i had enough money to pay my taxes! I enjoyed the treats afterwards!

  3. Great pictures. Looks like you had a nice time visiting your family in Texas. Have a nice Monday.

  4. Cool!

    Merry Christmas In Bloggyland!

  5. Cool!

    Merry Christmas In Bloggyland!

  6. That is such a wonderful thing. I wish we had something like that around us. I guess we will have to keep looking.

    I stopped by from the Christmas in Bloggyland Tour.

  7. That's a great family tradition! The people who organize Bethlehem have really outdone themselves. Thanks for sharing the experience.

  8. That's really cool! Thanks for sharing pictures!

  9. I'm glad I wore my comfortable shoes for that tour! It was fun!

    People in Texas tend to always do things right. That was absolutely beautiful and fabulous. Well done. Thanks so much for the tour.

    Merry Christmas gal! ♥ ∞

  10. Stevie - what a wonderful tour! I'm with Shelly - I was worried about the tax thing!

  11. Did you have a good trip? Of course you did! I always love seeing Beth's photos of main street Bethlehem!

  12. Steph, BIG THANKS for this tour! Enjoyed very much having this virtual tour, you are Super! I've not heard such a street before:( Texas in already my wishlist, and I'll include Main Street Bethlehem, promise, miss it not.

  13. Wonderful this is!
    I have been to Bethlehem once when I was a sailor in my younger years, this seems like more fun!
    Thanks and also for stopping at my blog for the BLT.

  14. I love these photos. It's fantastic that Burnet does this. And I will remember it should my travels ever take me to that area during the holiday season.

    I dropped in from the Bloggyland Christmas Tour.

  15. What a wonderful exhibit/tour. This reminds me, I must get out my "Jesus of Nazareth" dvd and watch the Nativity part.

    For a spiritual experience of a different kind, Stevie - head over to the Hyggehus!



  16. Very cool! I enjoyed my visit from Bloggyland.

  17. Great post. Merry Christmas.

  18. i'm so impressed with a city that would do this. it sounds so fun and educational! thanks for sharing!

  19. I might just fly out to Texas to see it. It looks amazing! Thanks for sharing. And merry Christmas!

  20. that is awesome I wish they would something like around were I live!!!Your pictures are beautiful!!!

  21. What a beautiful little village! I love the special touches with the period clothing and all those props! That is really special! Thanks for sharing! I'm off to visit the others on the tour!

    On another note, my home computer monitor died last night after the kids played a game on it. It's 8 years old, I got my use out of it. I guess all I want for Christmas is a new computer monitor! So I'll be on remotely until then so not to worry if you don't see me post as often!

  22. What a lovely tour...Have not seen anything like it before...thanks for sharing...Delightful...I'm off for seconds on that hot chocolate...Mmmm! :)

  23. I think this is so great! I love your pictures and story!

    Merry Christmas!

  24. Now that was a great way to get the tour started. Keeping the perspective properly...I've just remembered I am to participate...pop back over for a bit of comic relief...

    Merry CHRISTmas to you and yours.

  25. What a great tour! I wish we had something like that here. Avery would love it and me too. It seems as though it really brings it all to life. Thanks for showing about the real reason for Christmas. I was being awfully worldly and grandiose. It was kind of fun though.

  26. Brilliant tour! Thanks for that Stevie. It's put me into the christmas mood (which has been sadly lacking). Your gandkids must have loved it!

  27. What a wonderful way to relive the Christmas story --it's so nice you could share this beautful tradition with your son and grandschildren thsi year, Stevie.

    Thanks so much for all your congratulations and good wishes on the birth of our grandson Leo! We are so thankful he's here and can't wait to see him!

    Hugs, Pat

  28. This is wonderful! I would love to take my kiddos to something like this~they would love it! So glad you're having a good time.

  29. Oh, man, this is wonderful! I wish we had something like that here...

    Christmas in Bloggyland rules!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family...and a fabulous 2009!



  30. I am all about the cookies! I can't wait for my wife and girls to bake up the special Christmas cookies....I can eat many per sitting!!!!

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