Town of Bethlehem
Monday 17 December (Preview Night)
6.00pm – 8.00pm
Tuesday 18 – Saturday 22 December
5.30pm – 9.30pm
Visit the traditional Town of Bethlehem and meet all the Christmas Story characters –
Wise Men, Shepherds, Roman Soldiers, and Mary, Joseph & baby Jesus.
Experience the drama and activity of the Town Square. Performances of “The Christmas Story” &
“A Wedding in Bethlehem” in the Town Square every half hour from 6pm.
Visit & pat the animals in Bethlehem – Camels, Sheep, Goats, Chickens, Donkey.
Take the Self-guided Tour
The Christmas Story Location: Bethlehem in Judea, home of Joseph’s ancestors.
1. Herod’s Palace
Visit Herod, King of the region.
The Wise Men visit King Herod
Now after Jesus was born, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, asking of King Herod, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him?” When Herod heard this, he was troubled, and inquired of the chief priests where the Christ was to be born. They told him: “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: From you O Bethlehem shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.” Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”
Matthew 2: 7 to 8
Reflect on the artworks of local artist, Pat Lowth.
3. Roman Quarter
Join the Roman Soldiers on a tour of duty (children’s dress-ups).
The Roman Army was often made up of conscripts from regions conquered by Rome. However, because of the good wages and conditions offered to the soldiers, they soon became very loyal to Rome.
A soldier’s wages included one silver coin (denarius) a day + 1kg of food a day and on recruitment, an allotment of land. A Roman solider had to carry his weapon at all times and was required to be involved in the religious worship of the Caesar.
4. Beggars Alley
Make a donation to those in need by helping one of our town’s “beggar” children.
All money collected in Beggars Alley goes to charity.
This year our chosen charites are: City Women Townsville,
a group committed to restoring and empowering women through love in action;
and Food Relief NQ, a not-for-profit organisation which supplies affordable
and necessary food products to local community groups and welfare organisations.
5. Caleb’s Carpentry
Do some hammering at the Carpenter’s shop.
In Bible times carpentry was a rough, tough job that demanded great physical strength
and endurance as well as great skill. There were two aspects to a carpenters work:
firstly construction of buildings and secondly the making of smaller objects that included wheels and furniture.
Most of the hand tools were primitive and not very sharp,
for example a wood drill was fashioned out of a bow and a small chisel.
To achieve a good finish on a piece of timber was very arduous work indeed.
6. Henna Body Art
Try something new with Henna Body Art.
7. Potter’s Place
Play with clay at the Potter’s stall.
8. Tie Dyeing
Get creative with Tie Dyeing.
9. Levi’s Leatherworks
In their workshop the leatherworkers and their apprentices
are punching out personalised name tags with great enthusiasm.
10. Fish Ponds
Catch a magnetic fish.
11. Wedding House
Join the celebrations at a Bethlehem Wedding.
12. Olive Leaf Café
Drop in for a free cuppa and a free slice of Christmas Cake.
13. Town Square
Experience the drama and activity of the Town Square.
Performances of “The Shepherds Story” & “A Wedding in Bethlehem” every half hour from 6pm.
14. Bread of Life Bakery
Eat some fresh bread at the Bakery.
15. Photo Booth
Take your photo in our Christmas Photo Booth and post online.
#StableOnTheStrand #StableNQ #Christmas
16. Shepherds’ Walk
Join the Shepherds’ Walk and hear The Christmas Story unfold
as you walk the streets of Bethlehem (children’s dress-ups).
A sheep in the Bible times can be either a sheep or a goat. The milk of these animals was a very important part of the local diet and could be used as a drink or to turn into a type of yoghurt (leben) or cheese. The family would always keep one animal at home with them, often living in the house, to meet their daily needs.
The shepherds hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph.
And there was the baby, lying in the manger.
It was just as the angel had told them.
17. The Wise Men (Magi) & Camels
Look for the three Wise Men and say hello.
The term Magi is used to describe a tribe of the Medes
who had a priestly function in the Persian Empire.
They were considered to be “wise men” or astrologers who interpret dreams and messages of the gods.
The Magi in the story of the birth of Jesus, were non-Jewish religious astrologers who,
from astronomical observations, inferred the birth of a great Jewish King.
After inquiring of Jewish authorities, they came to Bethlehem to do homage.
From “the East” could mean Arabia or Babylon.
The Wise Men follow the star and visit Jesus
After listening to the king, they went on their way.
And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them
until it came to rest over the place where the child was.
When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.
And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother,
and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures,
they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed to their own country by another way.
Matthew 2:9 – 12
18. The Well
Meet the woman at the well.
19. The Inn
Join the Innkeeper’s family for some housekeeping (children’s dress-ups). Say hello to the puppet.
An Inn in Bible times was built around a central courtyard.
Stabling for animals was provided at courtyard level, and other accommodation was above.
The Inn provided free accommodation, however food and other services were paid for.
The Inn at Bethlehem was most likely a very simple place with few services
and probably erected by the villagers to cope with the sudden influx of visitors.
The upkeep of this Inn was the responsibility of the whole village
as many had relatives staying there because of the Census.
20. Prayer Wall
Write a prayer and place on the payer wall.
Receive a Christmas Blessing from the pastors & clergy of the Churches of Townsville.
21. The Angels
Listen to carols sung by the Angel Choir.
The Angel’s Message
“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her,
“for you have found favour with God!
You will conceive and give birth to a son,
and you will name him Jesus.”
Good News for All
The angel said: “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all
people. The Saviour—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born
today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”
22. The Stable
Wonder at the awe of The Nativity. Greet Mary, Joseph & baby Jesus.
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.
And he will be called: Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Because Joseph was a descendant of King David,
he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea.
He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged,
who was now expecting a child.
Jesus is Born
While they were there, she gave birth to her first child, a son.
She wrapped him snuggly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger,
because there was no lodging available for them.