A group of people in the Tri-Valley are taking a bold step to share the true meaning of Christmas on a grand scale by recreating the town of Bethlehem and relating the Nativity story.
"This is a pretty big endeavor that will bring a lot of communities together," said Doug Fernandez, a parishioner at St. Michael's and member of the Knights of Columbus, who has been working on the project for four years. The enterprise is so big, people from parishes throughout the Tri-Valley and beyond are working as volunteers.
"We want to recreate the town of Bethlehem — with live animals, soldiers walking around, Mary and Joseph on a mule — the entire town, a town square, merchants and artisans demonstrating time period crafts. Roman soldiers, musicians, dancers and artisans will show off what people were doing 2,000 years ago.
"It will be a complete enactment of that period, so you can experience the entire thing live," Fernandez said. The town should be built and ready for performances that run from Dec. 13 to 17. The actors will recreate the 30-minute story five times a night beginning at 6:30 p.m., ending at 9 p.m., he said.
The event and volunteer participation is open to anyone, he said.
Fernandez hopes seeing the whole Christmas story unfold will have a positive effect on people.
Fernandez said the First Baptist Church in Santa Clara has been doing a living Nativity for 15 years. "I've been many times, and was enamored by what they did." That church produced a video of its Christmas story, and has been very helpful facilitating the Livermore effort.
Project organizers have raised about $25,000 of the estimated $45,000 cost.
Fernandez hopes the project will "make nonbelivers, believers."
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