"We have actors, set construction, traffic control, guides, security and much more. It's a massive undertaking," Director Jeannie Price said. "But we believe it's worth the effort to bring the true meaning of Christmas to our community and surrounding area."
"The Brazil and surrounding communities have always been a source of encouragement and strength to First Christian Church," Senior Pastor Bob Witte said. "We want the great families that make up this strong community to come and experience the original Christmas story with shepherds, wise men, live animals, food and lots of fun."
"Everyone who takes 'The Journey' will step into the true story of Christmas," Price said. "They will hear the prophecy of the Messiah and see the excitement and anticipation of its fulfillment, and experience the people, places and circumstances that surrounded the birth of Jesus. The best way I can describe it is that it will be a 'progressive drama.' The story doesn't take place on one stage. Instead it is spread over our entire campus."
"The Journey" actually begins in the Bethlehem marketplace where guests will see several different shops and shoppers, speak to some of the shopkeepers and witness the tax collectors -- all as they are guided by a family trying to find these visitors housing for the night.
"Along the way will be Roman Soldiers, scribes, shepherds, angels, wise men, the innkeeper and, of course, Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus," Price said. "Guides will help explain what they are going to see and experience at each stop and how it all ties together."
"The Journey" started as a vision for First Christian Church after the staff visited a presentation entitled "Journey to Bethlehem" at Harvester Christian Church, St. Louis, last December.
"Although the 'Journey to Bethlehem' was excellent, I felt certain parts of the Christmas story were missing," Price said.
"Also, our buildings and grounds are set up completely different. So we tailored the program to our physical situation, which included different scenes and wrote our own script. The result is 'The Journey'."
The entire journey will take the travelers approximately 45 minutes.
Since portions of the experience will be outside, the public is encouraged to dress appropriately.
I know that all those who journey through the real Christmas story will find ultimately the true meaning of Christmas filled with hope, joy and peace that our world desperately needs today," Witte added.
"The Journey" will be presented Dec. 5-7, from 6-9 p.m., at First Christian Church, 1875, W. US 40, Brazil, across from Long John Silver's.
The event is free to the public.