Thursday, 7 February 2013

Bethlehem and the Birth of Jesus

The Birth of Jesus, Bethlehem

What an amazing day. The College leaders called it “Mothers Day” for us because it was about Mary and Elizabeth and the birth of Jesus and John.

So we started today making our way to Bethlehem. But our first stop was to the place of the Visitation, a town called in Hebrew Ein Kerem. “During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah “(Luke 1:39). After Mary had conceived of the Son of Man in her womb, she set out to see Elizabeth in the hill country.

The hill country of Judea 

This picture is taken from the well that Elizabeth would have used when Mary had visited her. The Judaean hill country. And it is very beautiful. The Church of the Visitation, on top of the mountain looking down upon the this lush valley, is built on the location where Zachariah and Elizabeth would have been living when Mary visited.

It was a beautiful feeling to be walking in the place where Mary, the Mother of God, would have walked while she was pregnant with Jesus.

Church of the Visitation

Our next stop was to a shepherd’s field near Bethlehem, a place not unlike the field that the shepherd’s from the Biblical story would have received the revelation from the Angels that the Saviour of the World has been born in a manger.

The Shepherd's Field 

A typical cave like the one Jesus would have been born in


We also got to see a cave that was not unlike the cave and manger that Jesus would have been born in.

After getting a feel for what a cave and residence of that time would have looked like (without the shrine effect that has been built over the actual site at the Church of the Nativity), we made our way to Jesus’ birth place. 

In the picture below is the entrance, under the altar in the church, to the cave and manger that Jesus was born in.

The entrance to the shine of the birth place of Jesus

Below is the actual location in the upper part of the cave that Mary would have given birth to Jesus. What a powerful spiritual feeling being in such a holy place.

The shrine at the actual place of Jesus' birth, according to tradition

I am so thankful for this opportunity to trace through the biblical story and walk in the places where the great figures of our faith have walked, and to follow our Lord’s steps in this Holy Land. 

The exit to the shrine of the birth, which is right under the altar

Outside of the Church of the Nativity

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