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Hepburn Becomes Bethlehem

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As we sat down to plan for our annual Hepburn MB Christmas events, the list of what we couldn’t do felt daunting, but we felt a nudge that we needed to something. We began dreaming about what we could do and praying for an idea. We invited a group of creative people to join with our staff, and a “Journey Through Christmas” was born. It was a 30-minute drive thru Christmas experience that took guests through scenes from the first Christmas as well as a light tour of our beautiful town. The vision quickly gained momentum in our community and grew into something better than we could have imagined. On December 10 & 11, we welcomed 200 cars and approximately 744 guests to Journey Through Christmas.

When guests arrived, they received a soundtrack that included an original narrative set to music that guided them through the tour. They journeyed through our town, seeing scenes of the first Christmas that included a bustling Bethlehem market, shepherds with sheep, and dancing angels culminating in the nativity scene. While they went, they heard Joseph reflecting about how God chose ordinary people to be a part of an extraordinary story. We tried to make it an immersive experience.

One of the gifts to the staff was watching our congregation come alive with this project. Like many others, we felt weary and wondered if this was even feasible to ask our congregation. But we began to share the vision, and every request we made was met with an enthusiastic yes!  Journey Through Christmas united us as we shared God’s good news with our community.

This event also reminded us that we could have a different impact on our community than when we invite them into our building. We were continually met with joy and gratitude for providing a safe family event. More than half of the guests came from surrounding communities. As part of the event, we asked guests to bring a food bank donation; in total, we raised 4800 pounds of food for the Foodbank in Rosthern.

Hosting an event like this during the covid-19 pandemic did not come without challenges. We had to adjust plans many times to remain compliant with the guidelines, but we could remain completely compliant. We are amazed at how God used our small idea and turned it into something better than we ever imagined.  As a congregation, we are heading into Christmas overwhelmed with gratitude for how this event brought hope and joy into our community.

If you’d like to see more, check out the video here.

Submitted by Kelsie-Lynn Harms, children’s director at Hepburn MB Church

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