The Princeton United Methodist Church recreated their first ancient marketplace called Journey to Bethlehem for their Advent Night celebration yesterday evening. It somehow put things in perspective for me to indulge in biblical living history this time of year, in the midst of the commercialism of gift shopping, party planning, holiday performances, and Christmas cards.
Upon arrival, you had to sign in with the census taker. Once you entered the bazaar, there were several artisan booths open, which taught crafts to all willing to learn. Basket weaving, creating potpourri (to fill your new basket), and mosaic tile making were some of the activities offered. There was also story telling by a well, and a tailor handing out robes and head coverings to everyone really make the atmosphere more authentic.
There was also a really nice selection of Middle Eastern food served with spices displayed in front of the goodies. I sampled honey sweetened wheat berries with pomegranate seeds on top, stuffed grape leaves, humus on flat bread, figs, dates, and pistachios. There was so much more to choose from like baklava, Greek yogurt with honey drizzled over it, lots of fresh and dried fruits, and nuts. I washed down my treats with a homemade mint tea. They also served cranberry juice, water, and I think pomegranate juice that were filled into nice decanters.
It was truly refreshing to step out of the hustle and bustle of modern life for a moment, and be transformed to ancient Bethlehem. I hope the Princeton United Methodist Church makes this their traditional Advent Night celebration, because I’m looking forward to it attending it next year!
UPDATE! I just found out that the food was catered by Zorba’s Grill on Nassau street. No wonder it was so good! The hummus was the best I’ve ever tasted, and I loved the stuffed grape leaves!