Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Day in Bethlehem

My previous visits to Bethlehem have not been very meaningful, but this time has been different.  We started the day going to the Church of the Nativity, built over the place where Jesus was born.  The ornate Greek Orthodox Church was almost empty, but we were met with a group of Armenian Christians were having a worship service in the cave.  So we had to wait... which made me look around at the Icons and the artwork. I would have never stopped and paid attention, but I am glad I did!! Beautiful and diverse depictions of the birth of Jesus and various aspects of his life all over the place.

Bill from Texas entering into the Church of the Nativity
We Three Kings of Orient Are...
This is fabric around the Altar Table.  The Orthodox believe it is important to demonstrate one's love of God by presenting before Him items which are beautiful and costly
After visiting the Cave, we went next door to the St. Catherine's, a beautiful Roman Catholic church, where an Indonesian group of Christians were having a worship service as well.  Spiritually uplifting!

Met a young man who owns an Olive Wood factory which makes all kinds of things (mostly religious) out of olive wood.  A believer, he was about as friendly and gracious a man that I have met in a long time.  So glad we encouraged our group to shop in his place.   He invited us on top of his building which gave a panoramic view of Bethlehem.

Mary Ellen has traveled 7000 miles to buy a spoon!  But it is good.

We had lunch at Ruth's Restaurant near Shepherd's Field.  First time to Shepherd's Field, the place commemorating the angels appearing to the shepherds and telling them of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem.  Quite an interesting place with lots of places to tell THE STORY.

 Rather than leaving Bethlehem feeling oppressed and disappointed, this time I left encouraged and inspired in The Faith.

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