Night in Bethlehem
A Brief History of “A NIGHT IN BETHLEHEM”
In 1997 a Christmas tradition was born in Tullahoma, Tennessee. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, it began in the hearts and minds of the people of First Baptist Church, spread to the community, and then to the Middle Tennessee area. The initial vision was to provide a dramatic reenactment of the nativity scene on Grundy Street, directly across from the churches front entrance. Another scene featuring shepherds in the fields would be created on the vacant lot fronting Atlantic Street. The stable as it exists today was constructed out of very old lumber dismantled from a historic building located outside of Tullahoma. In addition to the two scenes, free refreshments would be provided, choirs would sing, and the flickering of light luminaries would dot the pathways.
In 1998 two simple structures were added to begin what has become the Bethlehem Market Place. A prominent feature from the very beginning was a host of animals including exotic camels. They soon became the talk of the community and the reason for a steady flow of on-lookers throughout the day light hours, as well as during the Nativity presentations.
As the market place grew into a diverse representation of Bethlehem’s market, musical and drama presentations became more numerous, and periodic concerts from national, recognized artists were and are featured.
In 2001 the Tullahoma Living Nativity became “A Night In Bethlehem”. The new name would come to better represent what the event had now become. In 2005 a lighted cross was added which effectively communicated Christ’s ultimate purpose and sacrifice. Seeing the humble beginnings of the stable and the powerful image of the cross, the earthly life and purpose of Christ’s coming is brought into sharp focus and the impact lease us both humbled and eternally grateful. Today thousands attend what has become a tradition for many. It’s popularity and influence are ever widening. Hundreds find joy and satisfaction in presenting this tradition to Tullahoma, Middle Tennessee, and of course First Baptist Church. Now look up and follow the star to the place of His birth. STOP! Clear your mind of worldly clutter and rejoice in the eternal blessing of what you find there. He has come just for you.