Worshipers will journey back in time when they arrive at First Lutheran Church Sunday for "Breakfast in Bethlehem."
Adults and children of all ages are invited to the Geneseo church at 9 a.m. Dec. 23 where they will be greeted by Bethlehem townspeople before they are served breakfast. Activities are planned and music will be provided by members of the Sanctuary Choir and the Glory Ringers.
After breakfast, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and wise men will share the story of Jesus' birth and the Rev. Arthur Bergren, church pastor, will conclude the morning event with a short message and an invitation to Christmas worship services.
"Remembering the story of Jesus' birth helps us to remember that it is so much more than an event that occurred 2,000 years ago," Bergren said. "Jesus' birth occurs again and again wherever faith, hope or love bubble up and emerge in our world. 'Breakfast in Bethlehem' reminds us of this very good news."
The entire program/message will be in the Fellowship Room of the church.
Melinda Wildermuth, director of worship and music at First Lutheran, said the weekend prior to Christmas at the church usually involves presenting a cantata at the three worship services.
"This year with Christmas Eve on Monday and Christmas Day on Tuesday, a cantata plus providing special music for Christmas service would have been taxing on voices and energy levels of both singers and bell ringers," she said. "I was searching for something different that could be done as a single event and that would be family-friendly and fun."
Wildermuth believes she found the answer in "Breakfast in Bethlehem," a Christmas program by Sandra L. Mack and Alene H. Betts.
Mack and Betts contend that the world offers breakfast with Santa and Christmas parties complete with a visit from Santa, so why shouldn't the church offer the true story of Christmas presented in a fun, informative atmosphere?
She said the idea of taking a secular event that is so popular and giving it a twist of faith resonated with her so she asked the Sanctuary Choir members if they would be willing to dress as Bethlehem townspeople, sing carols and present the drama.
"They agreed, and Men in Mission president Jim Turner agreed to provide the breakfast," she said.
First Lutheran Church members and artists Carol Gustafson and Robin Donner agreed to be in charge of scenery and craft activities for children.
"With all of those bases covered, we are on the road to 'Breakfast in Bethlehem!" Wildermuth said.