Mr. Speaker, Parksville on Vancouver Island is a city of some 10,000 people. This week a local Baptist church will attract more than 10,000 people to a four day special Christmas event.
There are shepherds and lots of real, fluffy sheep. There are donkeys and chickens and a stable scene with a real newborn baby.
Reproduced are the shops, smells and sounds of the historic, dimly lit streets of Bethlehem. More than 200 people are dressed in period costume as Roman soldiers, blacksmiths, candle makers and fish mongers. There is a period bakery producing Dead Sea rolls. There is Sotheby's auction house where people can bid on Goliath's sword or Moses' staff, which still turns into a serpent when it is thrown down on the floor.
Afterward there are cookies, hot chocolate and Christmas carols.
It is all in good fun and sets the stage to help the less fortunate. Last year the Bethlehem Walk raised more than $10,000, all given to the Society of Organized Services to help needy families.
It is the spirit of giving. It is the Christmas story. It is light coming into darkness. It is joy to the world, peace and goodwill.
Congratulations to Parksville Fellowship Baptist Church.