A Night in Bethlehem

December is a busy time, but it’s also a time to reflect on the birth of Jesus. Many area churches take the holiday season as a time to share Christ’s birth through Live Nativities or Walks through Bethlehem. Each year our family likes to attend a few of these events. There are always favorites and new ones to try. I’m amazed by the creativity and work that goes into each of these offerings.

Last year we attended our first Culpeper event. We heard about A Night in Bethlehem last fall and immediately signed up for our free tickets via EventBrite. This event is sponsored by the Reformation Lutheran Church in Culpeper.

Unfortunately, it was raining the night we had tickets. Because of this, the petting zoo was not up and running. My kids were disappointed about this. During a normal visit, groups would visit the petting farm after their scheduled visit unless scheduled for the last visits on Friday and Saturday.

Even though the tickets are free, you must make sure that each person is registered in his/her name as these will be needed for check in. Arrive 15 minutes early so you can get registered.

At registration each child will receive a treasure keepers bag. When they visit the merchants they will receive a treasure.The program begins with a visit from John The Baptist, a group of shepherds and a host of angels.

You then enter the Marketplace and watch the merchants work (carpenter, wool dying, basket making, scribe, herbs/spices, women at the well and the bakery). My children loved this area. You will have approximately 30 minutes in the Marketplace so plan your time wisely to visit each merchant.

A host of angels will lead you past ‘The Inn’ into the stable where the pastor will deliver the message of the birth of Christ. In this room you will hear some carols and see Mary and Joseph.

You will then be escorted into the Modern Day Christmas to sing carols and enjoy homemade cookies.

A lot of effort really went into this event. It is happening again on December 9 and 10, 2022. Make sure to register this event as many time slots have already sold out.

There are several additional churches in the area hosting Live Nativities or other Christmas events.

Bealeton:

  • There’s a Live Nativity at the Family Worship Center on December 11, from 4:30 – 7 pm.

Culpeper:

  • There’s a Live Nativity at the Ole Country Store & Bakery on Nov 26 & 27 from 5-8 pm. This nativity is a FREE park and walk nativity hosted by Mount Lebanon Baptist Church. This Living Nativity is held in the area between The Ole Country Store & Bakery and Lake Pelham. This is a walk thru event. It is stroller friendly and wheelchair accessible. Small groups are directed through three scenes. There are live animals to pet, carolers, fire pits, and sweet treats. This event is FREE. Make sure to dress for the weather. My kids were most excited about petting the animals (especially the camel) and getting hot chocolate.
  • Make sure to register for A Night in Bethlehem being held Dec. 9 & 10 at the Reformation Lutheran Church in Culpeper.

Richmond:

  • One of the largest live nativities in the area is the Bethlehem Walk in Richmond. Here you will experience the Christmas Story in person! This is a FREE park and walk event. You must register for your free tickets. Registration opened this year at 10 am on November 15, 2022. You are able to reserve up to 10 tickets. If you need a group of 30 or more, you will need to email bethlehemwalk@salembaptistchurch.info. The event this year runs Nov. 30-Dec. 4. Bethlehem Walk is hosted by Salem Baptist Church in Goochland County, Virginia, just 6 miles west of Short Pump. There is no on-site parking. You will park and then ride a shuttle bus to the Bethlehem Walk site. Make sure you have your tickets ready for the attendants. Handicap parking is available.
  • Another Dec. 9-11 & 16-18: A Walk in Bethlehem in the Richmond area is held at The Red Barn Farm in Dinwiddie. There is no reservation or admission fee for this event. In 2022, it is being held Dec. 9-11 & 16-18 from 4-8 pm.
  • The Miracle of Christmas – Live at the Richmond Zoo is a popular live nativity in the Richmond area. The past two years this has been a virtual event. The Richmond Metro Zoo is excited to be back in-person this year. There will be three shows each evening at 7:00, 7:45, and 8:30 pm, Dec. 20-22. The zoo gates open at 6:15 p.m. for the first show.
  • All Saints RVA will be hosting their first annual drive thru Christmas Pageant on December 7th and 8th from 5:30pm-7:30pm. This event is free and open to the public. Stay in your car and drive through to see live actors throughout the parking lot.

Ruther Glen

  • The Cardinal Baptist Church will be hosting a Live Nativity at Mount Olympus Berry Farm Dec. 2, 3, and 4. This event runs continuously every 20 minutes 6:30-8:30 pm each night. There is a 15 minute show that is performed on loop for the 2 hours. So you come park. The play is set up at the front of Mt Olympus. You can stay for as many showings as you want. There is also a refreshment and fellowship area near the parking.

Fredericksburg Area–Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, & Stafford

  • Salem Fields Church always hosts a large FREE Christmas event with a Live Nativity and other festivities. This year Christmas at the Fields will have the live nativity plus crafts, Santa, cookies, a tree lighting, carols and more. This event will be held Dec. 2 from 5:30-8:30 pm.
  • Glasgow Farm Church hosts a Live Nativity outside on their property. This year it will be held Dec. 2 & 3 at 7 pm. The show is FREE and last about an hour. There is an online registration for this. You will need to create an account to register. We attended their first nativity in 2020 and thought it was a drive through show. Nope. We were not prepared for the cold. We sat out on hay bales the entire hour. Remember to dress for the weather and bring blankets for the hay bales. After the presentation, you can visit the animals. Parking can get a little crazy here as most of it is on the grass in a field.
  • Dec. 10, New City Fellowship will be hosting Tonight in Bethlehem– a Christmas encounter for all ages on Dec. 10 from 5-7 pm.
  • Ferry Farm Baptist Church has been putting on their Christmas Pageant for decades. It was one of the very first live nativities that we attended when we moved to the area years ago. It is a LIVE presentation of the birth of Jesus featuring angels, shepherds, Mary & Joseph, and live animals. You will stay in your car for the entire presentation. The Ferry Farm crew has this down to a science. They will show you where to park. The show is approximately 12 min. This year the pageant will be Dec. 17 from 6 – 9 pm. In the past, we were given cookies to enjoy during the show. I’m not sure if they are still doing this.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (161 Eustace Rd, Stafford, VA 22554) hosts a large Nativity Display of beautiful nativities from around the world. My children loved this event because there was a scavenger hunt, a nativity dress up area and goodies. This event will be held Dec. 2 & 3 from 7-9 pm. (2022 Update–No nativity dress up or goodies.)

  • Fredericksburg Seventh Day Adventist Church puts on a Live Nativity. It’s a walk-thru experience with nativity scenes and live animals. There’s music, caroling, and hot drinks and snacks.
    This event is FREE and will be held Dec. 17 at 6 pm.
  • The Outdoor Living Nativity event by Ebenezer United Methodist Church in Stafford is one not to be missed. They share the true story of Christmas with a twist. You will hear firsthand accounts from Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and more. The evening will end with communion and singing Silent Night by candlelight. Afterwards, you can warm up by a fire, visit the animals, and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate. Make sure to dress for the weather. This FREE event will be Dec. 20 at 7 pm.
  • Wilderness Baptist Church usually hosts a FREE outdoor nativity with cookies and cocoa.
    This event will be held Dec. 10-11 from 5-7 pm.

Washington, DC Area

The Festival of Lights hosted by Washington D.C. Latter-day Saint Temple is back this year. Lights will illuminate the grounds from dusk until 9:00 pm every evening December 1st through January 2nd. Inside the Visitor Center there are beautiful Créche displays featuring nativities from around the world. Enjoy over 400,000 lights, beautifully decorated Christmas Trees, and a wide array of performances. This event is FREE. Registration for performance tickets is now available.

Woodbridge:

  • Good Shepherd UMC in Woodbridge hosts a Live Nativity on Sunday, December 11 from 3- 5 pm Travel through a real-life scene of Bethlehem and experience what it was like the night baby Jesus was born. There will be live animals. Free.

Do you know of any LIVE Nativities happening in the area that aren’t listed here? If so, please email familyadventuresva@gmail.com or DM @familyadventuresva so they can be added to the list. Thank you!

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