This past weekend, the New Paltz United Methodist Church led visitors to a recreated Town of Bethlehem as it was just before the birth of Jesus. Upon passing the threshold of lit lanterns outside the Church, visitors crossed through the “desert” as depicted by the beautiful photographs by Julie Lillis inside the sanctuary. Then they were met by a “tax collector,” played by Carol Roper, who registered them and asked them to pay their taxes. She was guarded by a Roman soldier so that no one could rob her or refuse to pay up. Pastor Bette Sohm was the person who set the scene for visitors as they entered the Church by reading a passage from the Bible and explaining what life might have been like in the Town of Bethlehem prior to the birth of Jesus.