LAYTON -- The community is invited to participate in a 14-year tradition at Mountain View Baptist Church next week.
Journey to Bethlehem, a free, live Nativity that includes re-enactments of events before and throughout Christ's ministry on Earth, takes place outdoors throughout a 20-acre area.
The event has become a don't-miss Christmas season attraction among members of many different faiths throughout the area.
"The story of the birth of Jesus is timeless, and we hope our presentation of our Savior's birth stirs the hearts of those of all ages," event director Selina Volz wrote in an email interview with the Standard-Examiner.
She said families begin looking forward to the presentation as early as October each year.
"If you travel (State Road) 193, you can see the city of Bethlehem, the manger and the Inn being built in late October," Volz wrote in her email. "Children are quick to point this out to their parents."
Journey to Bethlehem features about 150 cast and crew members each night of the production.
Thirteen sets and several live animals are used in the production, all of which are sponsored as a gift from Mountain View Baptist Church.
"The Nativity represents the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ," Volz wrote. "Without His birth, there is no reason for the Christmas season."
Speaking of the need to keep Christmas in the proper perspective, Volz wrote of the season being so commercialized and politicized that many just see it as a celebration to buy and give gifts.
"We are told to use the term 'Holiday' instead of 'Christmas,' " she wrote. "The Christmas tree is now a Holiday tree. Christmas party is now Holiday party. Christmas greetings are now Holiday greetings."
Volz said church members hope that all those who attend Journey to Bethlehem leave with the clear understanding that the event is a celebration of the Savior's birth and the only reason for the Christmas season.
She said re-enacting the Nativity and other aspects of Christ's life as recounted in the Bible is "truly a blessing" to all who participate.
"Every member of Journey to Bethlehem will tell you that they receive much more than they put into it," she said. "It is an opportunity for each of us to tell the story of our Savior in such a simple, yet powerful way."
She said that the same way families have made attending Journey to Bethlehem a tradition, the event has become a tradition that each member of the cast and crew looks forward to presenting each year.
Journey to Bethlehem will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 8.
Those attending will be formed into groups and become families of Gaddiel, who will guide them through the different sets.
Those who attend are asked to dress warmly and to plan on a journey that takes just more than an hour to visit the different sets of the production.
Mountain View Baptist Church is at 2585 E. 3000 North (Highway 193) in Layton.
For information, call the church at 801-771-3204.