This totally immersive Christmas nativity scene portrays the biblical stories of Jesus’ birth each December in Waxahachie.
For two weekends in December every year, the living nativity scene known as Bethlehem Revisited draws thousands of visitors to Downtown Waxahachie to experience the portrayal of the New Testament stories of the birth of Jesus.
From 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the first two weekends of December, a one-block square behind Central Presbyterian Church located at 402 South College Street in Waxahachie, Texas bustles with the activity of actors and animals playing out the drama of Joseph and Mary entering Bethlehem and being turned away from lodging, only to find a warm spot among donkeys and sheep to give birth to Jesus.
Admission to the event is free of charge. Donations are accepted.
Visitors may arrive at any time during the event and wander through the ancient-looking streets of the three-hour, totally immersive nativity scene and interact with the actors portraying shopkeepers, artisans, Roman soldiers and everyday citizens. Every 10-15 minutes, Mary rides a donkey led by Joseph as the two wend their way through the crowds toward the manger, giving all visitors a chance for a close-up view of the story’s starbeam-lit climax no matter where or when they enter the scene.
Bethlehem Revisited has been conducted for more than two decades, growing in production value and popularity ever since its first run in 1997.
“The buildings around look just like that time — there’s a wall around it. There’s camels; there’s animals that would be there at the time — Roman soldiers — the angel — all kinds of things,” says Kevin Strength with the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce, the non-profit organization coordinating the event. “We’re trying to take it up a notch going forward. So, every year we’re adding as much as we can.”
The performance draws thousands of visitors to Waxahachie each year, some from across the nation, especially if the weather cooperates.
“If it’s cold and clear, we generally have a whole lot of people,” Kevin says. “It’s like walking back in time. It’s really a cool experience. We continue to be amazed how many people graph so far to be able to walk through. Children really like it — adults alike. It moves you. It really does.”