"Angels we have heard on high...
Come to Bethlehem and see,
Him whose birth the angels sing..."
I've sang that song countless times, through church, recreation, and of course Teen Tone caroling. But never did I think that I would actually live up to those lyrics. I came to Bethlehem. And I saw. And I felt.
However, we started the day (a month or so ago... I'm catching up, slowly but surely) out at the Herodium. We don't go into the West Bank very often, so when we do, we try to make a full day of it. The Herodium was a fortress that Herod built as he was fleeing to Masada. It's built on a mountain that looks almost like a volcano, which makes it pretty secure. There were plenty of columns... but we had gotten sick of column pics, so Sarah and I took some in a doorway. Oh yeah- and I wore my hair natural that day! First time in, well, since like 6th grade. So that was a big deal. Everyone was super nice about it, so I think I may be bringing back the "80s rock princess hair" (as Wesley calls it).
|Sarah Brown doing Asian face. I guess she's okay at it.|
Then we got back in the bus and headed to Bethlehem! We toured the Church of the Nativity, which is said to be built over the spot where Jesus was born and laid in a manger. It's probably not the same spot, but as with most things, it's the thought that counts. It was a beautiful church nonetheless, and touched the places that are said to be the actual places where these holy events occurred. After that we went to an empty basement room where we sang Christmas carol upon Christmas carol. The songs literally drove me to my knees. I've never felt such an overwhelming feeling that I should kneel in front of my God.
|1/2 of our hometeachers, with 3/4 of the hometeachees in front of the Church of the Nativity.|
|Janae and I at the spot Jesus was laid in a manger.|
We then went to "Shepherd's Fields," a traditional site of the shepherds who saw the star announcing Jesus' birth. We sang even more Christmas songs there. While we were singing, multiple tractors and construction trucks drove by below us. Looking around, we could see houses cropping up all around the field and encroaching on this special area. At first it angered me slightly--there I was, trying to have a spiritual moment and experience what it would have been like for the shepherds, and these loud vehicles were really hampering my ability to do so. Then I realized, once again, the biggest lesson the Holy Land has to offer: the place really doesn't matter. At all. It's not about where things happened, but the fact that they actually even happened at all. After that, I was glad for all of the modernizations. They reinforced in my mind that regardless of what that sacred field looks like, shepherds saw a star. The star that shone to tell the world that our Savior, Jesus Christ, was born. And at the end of the day, that's quite enough for me.
|Janae, Me, Becca, and Sarah in front of Shepherd's Fields|
|Lee, Me, Janae, and Sarah sporting our apartment gang sign, 404... get it? Fairly clever. Not like I came up with it myself or anything.... ;)|