If an authentic night in Bethlehem seems like the perfect way to celebrate the upcoming Christmas season, then Mountain View Lutheran Church is the place to be.
The Ahwatukee Foothills congregation will be hosting its annual Christmas Spectacular show on Friday, Dec. 4 and Saturday, Dec. 5.
This year’s event, called “Sights and Sounds of Bethlehem,” is a three-part musical and dramatic celebration featuring over 200 congregational members. The free holiday family event starts at 6 p.m. both evenings, with a children’s musical beginning at 7 p.m. and the church’s orchestra performing at 8 p.m.
The highlight of the event this year is “Bethlehem.” A genuine rendition of the ancient Israeli town will be set up and on display in and around the church for visitors to walk through when they arrive. A guide will escort guests through Bethlehem, where they will be immersed in the sights, sounds and excitement that townspeople experienced before the birth of Christ. An elaborate town set will be on display and an ensemble, including Roman soldiers, villagers, carpenters, tax collectors, farmers, toy makers and wise men, will be in costume contributing to the authentic feel of the evening.
More than 100 actors, all from the congregation, will be present and live animals will be on site.
After walking through “Bethlehem,” guests will return to modern times to listen to the children’s choir and orchestra perform Christmas music.
Members of the Lutheran church have been working hard to prepare for the event, specifically the Bethlehem walkthrough.
“We started working on it in August … and the choir met in September. It’s a really big event for us every year,” Roger Moore, a member, said.
The director of the drama department, Penny Blough, even made most of the costumes, such as the soldiers and villagers costumes, by hand.
Mountain View has always had a Christmas Spectacular show, but this is only the second time a Bethlehem town was set up for people to walk through. Nearly 1,400 people came last year, so we decided to make it bigger and turn the event into a two-night celebration, Moore said.
“We just want to be able to share the birth of Jesus with the community in a non-threatening way,” he said.
The ticketed event is free, however, the church recommends reservations be made before Dec. 4. Contributions are accepted for those who wish to donate to the church.
For tickets, call (480) 893-2579 or stop by the church, located at 11002 S. 48th St.
Leslie D’Ambrosio is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a sophomore at Arizona State University.