Journey through a reenactment of the story of Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus as told in the Bible. Enjoy arts & crafts, hot chocolate, and musical entertainment. Presented by the LOV Movement comprised of churches and non profit groups of the Coachella Valley.
Takes place annually in December. Check website for specific dates and times.
We did not know what to expect at the Living Nativity but we were pleasantly surprised! The presentation, staffing, tour guides, musical entertainment, and crafts were excellent. Everyone was incredibly friendly and it was all free. We put donations in the tip/donation jars because we knew pulling off something this big takes man power and money, and we were thankful to get to experience it.
The best advice was from my mom, urging us to get there early, even before it started at 5pm. That was good advice! The line was already 15-20 minutes long when we arrived so we waited. While we did, we enjoyed a top notch puppet show/musical performance that had us clapping and smiling.
We were sent "into Bethlehem" in groups of 25 people or so. My parents were offered a "buggy ride" on a golf cart driven by a "shepherd" for anyone not wanting to walk for the 45 minute tour. Our guide read a pleasant script as he led us to the different stations... about 10 or so all together. We stopped at each station and watched people dressed in character read a section from the Bible or act out what was piped in on the sound system. The kids were invited to the front of each station so they could hear and see well. Nothing was scary... except a little when the Roman guards were shouting at us to hurry up and show them our papers.
The best part ever was watching a young couple portray Mary and Joseph in the stable with their real son (or daughter) playing baby Jesus. The kids (and everyone) were invited up to see Jesus and tears sprang into my eyes as we gazed down at the sweet face.
The tour completed the whole story of the life of Jesus (quickly) with a stop at a cross (no people portrayed here... just a cross), and then at the empty tomb where the angel told the women that Jesus was risen.
At the end of the tour, we walked "Bethlehem Market" where tables were set up with crafts offered at each one. Volunteers helped my kids make bracelets, metal crosses, and clay coins. There was so much to do and the kids wanted to do it all. We stopped for hot chocolate on our way out.
On our way to the car, we saw the incredibly long line of people waiting to go in. They must have waited an hour? Someone told us that 2,000 people would go through the tour that night. So come early next year!