By BRIAN GRAVES
It is difficult to imagine it was only coincidence that the rain broke and the full moon shown over the Cleveland Greenway as the first tour group to “Journey to the Manger” began retracing the …
It is difficult to imagine it was only coincidence that the rain broke and the full moon shown over the Cleveland Greenway as the first tour group to “Journey to the Manger” began retracing the steps of those thousands of years ago.
The churches of Mount Olive Ministries and Westwood Baptist Church have come together to produce a multisensory, interactive experience which takes visitors on the road followed to the birth of a Savior.
With characters in costume and animals along their side, the event brings together the sights, smells and sounds of those nights so long ago.
“This extends over the boundaries of denominations,” said Pastor Gary Sears of Mount Olive Ministries. “We have come together and brought this to the center of the community for the entire community to enjoy and hear the story of Christmas.”
Each night, the evening is serenaded by musical groups from area schools and churches.
The tour is led by a pair of narrators who guide groups to several stops along the road to the final stop where the Baby Jesus lay in a manager.
All of the characters feel free to interact with their visitors from the future, going so far as to ask youngsters to carry Mary’s blanket to her after she had left it behind.
A soldier is mounted on a horse and is constantly patrolling the route as those who played a part in the story of the birth of Jesus tell their own experiences as the Christ Child is born.
Humor also plays a part, and the group of three shepherds get big laughs as they recall their visit with the angel who announced the birth of Christ.
The script is down to earth and spoken in a simple way that can be understood by all ages.
Another sensory moment comes as visitors are offered two iconic foods for Christmas — hot cocoa and fresh baked cookies pulled straight from an oven at the pavilion.
A petting zoo is also onsite, so kids and adults can get up close and personal with some of the animals who are part of the program – that even includes a real, live camel.
“Journey to the Manger” will be offered tonight and Sunday, from 6 to 9 p.m. There is no admission charge to attend.
Print subscribers have FREE access to clevelandbanner.com by registering HERE
Non-subscribers have limited monthly access to local stories, but have options to subscribe to print, web or electronic editions by clicking HERE
We are sorry but you have reached the maximum number of free local stories for this month. If you have a website account here, please click HERE to log in for continued access.
If you are a print subscriber but do not have an account here, click HERE to create a website account to gain unlimited free access.
Non-subscribers may gain access by subscribing to any of our print or electronic subscriptions HERE