Night in Bethlehem

Visitors are immersed in a re-creation of the ancient village during St. Luke’s Lutheran Church’s  “Night in Bethlehem” event in Mesa.

As the Christmas countdown clock ticks away, the kiddos inevitable questions grow more frequent: Is there a Santa Claus? Why do we celebrate Christmas? Who is Baby Jesus?

You’ll have to answer the first question on your own, but St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Mesa seeks to answer the last two at the 5th annual “Night in Bethlehem.” This full-scale village re-creates the bustle and hurry of ancient Bethlehem.

Upon arriving, visitors must register in a census decreed by Caesar Augustus before browsing the shops and stalls lining the marketplace. The weaving shop invites children to make a woven paper lantern, while another booth allows guests to don period costumes and have their picture taken.

There is also a petting zoo with goats, llamas, chickens and rabbits. More than 500 people are expected at this event, office manager Dorel Phillips wrote in an email, creating an environment much like the one a young couple experienced over 2,000 years ago as they awaited the birth of their son.

After traveling through the village, visitors will discover a live nativity scene, where Mary and Joseph tell the story of their journey to Bethlehem and what happened while they were there.

DETAILS >> 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21. St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 807 N Stapley Drive, Mesa. Free; hot chocolate and cookies are complimentary. (480) 969-4414 or

Contact writer: (480) 898-5629 or 

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