Saturday, June 5, 2010

Day 7 part two

Well, Dan did an AMAZING job this morning with the first part of our day blog post, taking us through the Holocaust memorial, but I have some other pictures to show and share from the rest of our day... so you get Day 7 part two!
The church of the Nativity: You saw the door and the upper chamber over the actual location of the shrine to the spot where Jesus was born (and laid in the manger) in the earlier post. Now what we have here is the star and the in the center of the star is the stone where Jesus was birthed. It's a black stone and just right below that star. Some folks kiss the stone or touch it. I touched but did not kiss. I'm already fighting a cold obtained (I'm guessing) on the plane ride over.
A few more steps down and you see the chamber where Jesus was laid in the manger after Mary gave birth. The Church of the Nativity is another multi owned church: Greek Orthodox, Catholic and one other regligion share the space which can sometimes cause strife. (Big surprise for the middle east no?) After walking through the lower portion of the church we exited into the Catholic Cathedral with it's lovely stained glass windows. Then out into the courtyard to since songs of worship to our saviour... including Christmas songs: Little town of Bethleham and another that I am forgetting.
We walked back to the bus from the church, it was a short walk but, much like mexico, there were many street vendors pressing their wares on us. Oh, and I had one of the vendors outside the olive wood store (where we bought the nativity) ask if I was married... then offer 100 camels for me. I told Dan but he said that wasn't enough for him to take the street vendor up on the offer. 

Our last stop in Bethleham was the field where the shepherds saw the angels singing of Jesus' birth. It wasn't that far from the church (for some reason I think in US distances - Israel is so tiny it has been a great insight to learn how close things really are to one another.) Here is the valley, no built up after 2000 years things have changed... at least a bit. :)
Here's our group picture from today- excuse the fingers. :)